‘DREAM’ A BIG NEW MURAL
(Well, in + to the piece x @Momoshowpalace going up at The Ogden Museum!)
On my way to work (I am the E.D. of NOLA Art Walk with focus as a public/street art specialist), I saw the scissor lift from a distance and felt my heart skip a beat (I hope that never goes away!)
Pictured here is Joshua (Josh) Wingerter, the primary artist behind the new DREAM piece hugging the train tracks in the Bywater. The boy in the mural is his son, and Josh makes a painting of him every year, using this year’s portrait project as the basis for this mural. And how ideally situated, by the train, a young boy playing with it, inducing nostalgia and a childlike playfulness!
You’d be thrilled to know that Josh is from NOLA and has been a painter here for twelve years, so he’s here to stay and paints scenes that speak to the community here! Even more thrilling is that I learned he just got into murals recently! Believe it or not (I’m still in shock) this is his first public, large-scale painting in the open!
As you can imagine, pieces this big take time and help–so his friend Paco is an artist in from D.C. who came to help with the mural. Paco is also a painter and will be part of the team moving forward. Also, Sloth, who is also a local artist, is helping Josh as well. Sloth and Josh giggled when I walked by to talk to them and stopped to chat--“We’re just two boys from the West Bank!” Josh’s son will see the mural on Wednesday, and his dad plans to give up a brush and let him make a mark in one of the bubbled on the right-hand side.
Now you’re wondering, how did he get that wall–Well, he got it himself! If you’ve ever organized a mural, the actual painting of it is a small slice of the work-pie. With this mural, just the process of getting the wall secured took 8 months–including coordinating the perfect design and negotiating the artist fee. Josh volunteered for the VA and painted a small, interior piece and later at dinner met the owner of the building on St. Claude, who asked him about doing his wall. The new place is a tech incubator, but the owner had an idea to pay homage to the history of the location.
The site of this new piece was an old bounce club, a place that hosted some of the local legends of the scene, so when the artist started to work with the owners to come up with designs, of course, Big Freedia sucking on a lollipop was on the table. Josh was asked to do three designs, and so he also thought maybe to paint Tank and the Bangas, whatever he painted, he was determined to keep it local and relevant to long-time residents like himself. With that, he slipped in the idea of painting his son, and the owner’s eyes lit up. It was an unexpected decision to choose that design but probably the best choice! The neighborhood is responding very well to it–even in the twenty minutes I chatted with Josh, people were pulling over to look closer, smiling, and taking pictures.
If you want to see more of his work, he’s beginning a mural in Chalmette in a week.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Cool to learn that our good friend, patron and author of The Creative Soul: How to Empower Yourself to Think Outside of the Box and Dare to Create Chris Pemberton knows Josh–they did a show together!