Wall Art in Lexington: PRHBTN 2015 Projects and more

prhbtnOnce again the great team at PRHBTN and all of its supporters have brought 4 great artists into Lexington to add 4 more lovely wall murals around Lexington.  These artists from New York, Italy and Portugal all visited Lexington and left with their art work colorizing more of town. (See updated map of all murals in Lexington embedded below)

Some PRHBTN Art on a wall in the Distillery District
Some PRHBTN Art on a wall in the Distillery District
Detail of Louis Armstrong mural in Lexington's East Side
Detail of Louis Armstrong mural in Lexington’s East Side

The first week of November I made my rounds to grab shots of these murals. I have done similar posts in the past ( see 2014 2013a 2013b ) and this is the 2015 version.

Unlike the art the past couple of years, we actually have a piece that is probably closer to conventional wall art rather than the street art influences, especially in Portuguese artist ODIETH‘s marvelous Louis Armstrong mural that sits alongside the Lighthouse Ministries Church on Elm Tree Lane across from the Lyric Theatre.

Louis Armstrong Mural by Sergio Odeith from Portugal, for PRHBTN 2015
Louis Armstrong Mural by Sergio Odeith from Portugal, for PRHBTN 2015

 

Head to downtown Lexington and the Victorian Square Parking Garage on Main and Broadway and there is now a third mural decorating the walls.  This time it is on the wall facing Main Street and the mural can be seen from the corner of Main and Broadway.  This mural was for the Audubon Society and is of a wild turkey.  The art was done by Italian mural artist hiTNES.

Wild Turkey by hiTNES for PRHBTN 2015 located on parking garage.
Wild Turkey by hiTNES for PRHBTN 2015 located on parking garage across from Victorian Square

12190491_10153699287852090_838511630_oThe most unusual of all of the paintings comes from New York artists Sheryo and the Yok. I am not sure what this one is all about, but I am thinking there is some basketball involved.  It is located on the side of the Oneness Boutique on Jersey St., near the corner with Maxwell.

Mural near UK campus by Sheryo and the Yok from New York.
Mural near UK campus by Sheryo and the Yok from New York.

12210924_10153711481137090_87531403_oAnd finally, the most retro and perhaps most colorful of all the paintings was the one done by Portuguese street artist MrDHEO.  This three section mural titled “What Goes Around Comes Around” on the side of Chase Brewing on Third Street and Jefferson is classy and intricate.

I really enjoyed looking at all of the detail that went into this.  And to think it was all done with spray paint is amazing to me.

Here are a few shots of this one.

Portuguese artist MrDHEO's fine piece by Chase Brewing
Portuguese artist MrDHEO’s fine piece “What Goes Around Comes Around” by Chase Brewing
Sumoflam at MrDHEO's painting
Sumoflam at MrDHEO’s painting
A painted tattoo
A painted tattoo
A MrDHO version of a Lucky Strike package...vintage
A MrDHO version of a Lucky Strike package…vintage
Sumoflam
Sumoflam and Master Dheo’s mural

Another tradition that seems to be associated with each annual PRHBTN gathering is the unscheduled and probably unplanned smaller pieces of art that find there way into the Lexington Distillery District, especially by the area where Ethereal Brewing is located on Manchester Dr. in Lexington.   This year some large cement cubes appeared and art has been added to them.  Among the artists that I could actually track down, one was Louisville’s Brrr.  Brrr is known for his popular bug-eyed character which you can see below.  A visit to Louisville will likely have an appearance of Brrr’s art show up.

Signature work of Louisville Street Artist BRRR
Signature work of Louisville Street Artist BRRR
Art on Cement Blocks in the Distillery District - artist unknown
Art on Cement Blocks in the Distillery District – artist unknown (well, I can’t read the tag anyway)
Unique bird using two sides and meeting in the corner - artist unknown
Unique bird using two sides and meeting in the corner – artist unknown
More unique art on blocks
More unique art on blocks – The Hot Dog King
Spacey Art
Spacey Art
A lovely Graffiti Panel rests on the water tank in the Distillery District - artist unknown
A lovely Graffiti Panel rests on the water tank in the Distillery District – artist unknown

Of course, besides the PRHBTN group’s great work, there has been other lovely and unique wall art popping up in Lexington since my last post in 2014.  Three really nice works that I have come across include the following:

Sunburst Wall at Mellow Mushroom Pizza in Lexington
Sunburst Wall at Mellow Mushroom Pizza in Lexington

I tried to research the artist for this outstanding sunface, but I may have to call Mellow Mushroom to find out.

MellowMush3

The front of Mellow Mushroom also includes some Native American art in the form of Kokopelli as seen on old petroglyphs in Arizona and New Mexico.  As a former tour guide on the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations and an enthusiast of the old Native American cultures of the Sinagua and the Anasazi, I immediately recognized Kokopelli,

Mellow Mushroom front
Mellow Mushroom front features renditions of Kokopelli

In another part of town, along Southland Drive, there is a Tattoo Shop called Horseshoe Tattoo which has a large mural on its side wall. Done in the tradition of street art, it is both colorful and indicative of tattoo stylings.  I think it has been around for a couple of years, but I had only really noticed it in the past year.  So, I am including it in this year’s version of Lexington’s Wall art.

Tattoo Wall at Horseshoe Tattoo on Southland Drive in Lexington.
Tattoo Wall at Horseshoe Tattoo on Southland Drive in Lexington.
Opposite View
Opposite View
Detail of Tattoo
Detail of Tattoo Art

NO LONGER WITH US…..

2013 Lexington Distillery District mural, by Dronex Inc.
2013 Lexington Distillery District mural, by Dronex Inc. – NO LONGER WITH US

Then there is the sad news of two lovely works that are no longer around.  The first is the Distillery District wall, which was done in 2013 by Lexington Street Artists Dronex, Inc.  I noticed that this wall had been torn down to expand the parking lot.  (You can see my write up about this one ON THIS BLOG POST from 2014).

Char Downs mural on Hurst Office Building in downtown Lexington
Char Downs mural on Hurst Office Building in downtown Lexington – NO LONGER WITH US

A second lovely mural was painted over by new owners of the old Hurst Office Building at the end of Short Street in Lexington.  I read that there was some controversy over this one.  It is sad that someone would just paint over a wall that was painstakingly painted.  You can see more about this one on THIS BLOG POST.

UPDATED MURAL MAP

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New Wall Art in Lexington, Kentucky – PRHBTN and LexArts




Sumoflam at the new Lincoln Mural (not quite finished) on Veteran's Day 2013
Sumoflam at the new Lincoln Mural (not quite finished) on Veteran’s Day 2013

Sometimes there can be a treasure trove in your own backyard.  In the past few months Lexington, Kentucky has been the recipient of some new and amazing wall art…all fairly large projects, including an amazing HUGE piece on the back of the Kentucky Theatre.  And there will be more on the way — all part of the PRHBTN Project in Lexington. According to it’s Website, “PRHBTN is an annual celebration of art forms that have been criminalized, marginalized, and under-appreciated in the mainstream, featuring an exhibition of these works in a space that complements the raw, powerful nature of the message and the artistry of each piece.”

Lily and the Silly Monkeys by Herakut - Downtown Lexington
Lily and the Silly Monkeys by Herakut – Downtown Lexington

In September 2012 German artists Jasmin Siddiqui and Falk Lehman (jointly known as HERAKUT) came to Lexington on commission to fill their canvas (an entire building) with their unique form of urban art.  This piece, known as “Lily and the Silly Monkeys” took only two days to complete.

Closeup of Lily by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington
Closeup of Lily by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington
Closeup of the Little Monkeys by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington
Closeup of the Little Monkeys by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington

A few days later they completed another massive painting on the side of another building.  Not sure what this is titled, so I will call it “Where Dreams Come From.”

Where Dreams Come From by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington, KY
Where Dreams Come From by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington, KY

For the 2013 version of PRHBTN another world reknowned artist, Eduardo Kobra from Brazil has come in and is currently working on a massive mural of Abraham Lincoln, depicting the iconic Lincoln Memorial in a mesmerizingly colorful depiction that just wows the senses!!

Partial of Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra as seen on November 7 in downtown Lexington
Partial of Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra as seen on November 7 in downtown Lexington

I first saw this partial work above when I was going through downtown last week.  The colors were amazing.  So, I drove by again today to see the progress….

Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra, part of the 2013 PRHBTN Festival in Lexington, Kentucky
Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra, part of the 2013 PRHBTN Festival in Lexington, Kentucky
Completed Painting on November 15, 2013
Completed Painting on November 15, 2013
Detail of Lincoln's Head on the Eduardo Kobra painting in Lexington
Detail of Lincoln’s Head on the Eduardo Kobra painting in Lexington

This piece of art is 60 feet tall and has been contracted to be on this building for at least the next ten years.  This piece was completed on November 12, 2013.

A Tradition of Music from North Limestone
“A Tradition of Music from North Limestone” by Michael Burrell

Another group in Lexington, the LexArts Mural Project has also had a few murals added, including the one on the side of Al’s Bar in Lexington entitled “A Tradition of Music from North Limestone” by Lexington artist Michael Burrell.  Michael also painted “In the Market for Music” for the Southland Farmer’s Market painting shown below:

In the Market for Music by Michael Burrell
A portion of “In the Market for Music” on Lexington’s Southland Drive by Michael Burrell

Another unique downtown mural is “Mind Body Soul” which can be seen along the High Street side of the YMCA building. This was created by Kansas City artist Waseem Touma, who was commissioned to provide something representing the YMCA in Oct. 2008.

"Mind, Body, Soul" by Wasseem Touma
“Mind, Body, Soul” by Wasseem Touma

There are a couple more great murals to be seen on Short Street.  One is fully of whimsy and fun and was the winning entry of the Thomas and King Competition in Lexington in 2005.  Artist Britt Spencer was only 21 at the time he painted this creation.

Lexington fun painted by Britt Spencer in 2005
Lexington fun painted by Britt Spencer in 2005
Detail of Britt Spencer mural
Detail of Britt Spencer mural
Detail of Britt Spencer mural in Lexington
Detail of Britt Spencer mural in Lexington

Just a couple of blocks away is a newer mural on the side of the Hurst Office Supplies building.  This horse theme work, across the street from Thoroughbred Park, was painted by Paducah, Kentucky artist Char Downs.  This mural is about 100 feet in length and fourteen feet tall and was completed in 2011 as part of the LexArts Mural Project.

Char Downs mural on Hurst Office Building in downtown Lexington
Char Downs mural on Hurst Office Building in downtown Lexington
Detail of Char Downs mural
Detail of Char Downs mural

Another artist was commissioned to paint a set of murals at the Whittaker Bank ballpark, home of the Lexington Legends baseball team. Portland artist Esteban Camacho Steffensen painted four different pieces that reflect the history of Lexington baseball as well as the depiction of Lexington culture.

Whittaker Bank Ballpark murals by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Whittaker Bank Ballpark murals by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Lexington Legends by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Lexington Legends by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Horse Racing mural at Whittaker Bank Ballpark by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Horse Racing mural at Whittaker Bank Ballpark by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Tribute to Kentucky Bourbon by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Tribute to Kentucky Bourbon by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Lexington Horse Country by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Lexington Horse Country by Esteban Camacho Steffensen

Another recent addition as part of the LexArts program was the large mural on the side of East End market on 3rd Street and Race.  Entitled “Know Your History. Then Make History,” this mural was designed to tell the story of the neighborhood it was painted in, even down to featuring some of the neighborhood children on portraits in the mural and inviting them to write their names and aspirations on the blades of grass. The artist, Sundiata Rashid, who actually resides in the East End neighborhood, tried to tie the past and present together while also including significant buildings. Half of the mural is black and white…depicting the past…and the other half is in color and represents the future.

"Know Your History. Then Make History." Mural on Lexington East End by Sundiata Rashid
Know Your History. Then Make History.” Mural on Lexington East End by Sundiata Rashid
Another view of the Rashid Mural on 3rd St.
Another view of the Rashid Mural on 3rd St.
Color side of mural on 3rd St.
Color side of mural on 3rd St.

Around the town there are a few more murals and more are in the planning stages.  This local art always inspires me.  I hope that those that visit Lexington will take time to enjoy these great pieces of art!!

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I’ve Been Everywhere – Part III: More Unique Town Signs

Rabbit Hash, KY
Rabbit Hash, KY

There are literally hundreds of fun town names around the U.S. and I have barely scratched the surface with them.  In my last post, I noted many names that are common adjectives or descriptive.  This post will have some signs from some of the more unusual place names and hopefully, a little about how the names came to be.

Rabbit Hash, KY sign
Rabbit Hash, KY sign

Rabbit Hash, KY – This small town of about 40 people is right on the Ohio River in Boone County.  Besides its name, it is also famous for its string of mayors…all dogs. Nobody really knows for sure when the original name of Rabbit Hash came to be.  According to a Wikipedia article, ” The hamlet was originally known as Carlton and was required to change its name because mail was being mixed up with the larger community of Carrollton several miles down the Ohio River. It is still the Carlton voter precinct. During the early 19th century the town, now known as “Rabbit Hash”, was well known for a rabbit hash meal. Steamboats often stopped to order the famous hash as they traveled along the Ohio river. A local legend states that, in 1831, a pirate ship docked and entered the town, where they proceeded to burn all of the buildings and kill every person. The next steamboat to stop for hash saw only a three foot sign with the words “rabbit hash” written. It was the only structure standing, and was thought to be the name of the town.”

Metropolis, IL
Metropolis, IL
Smallville Billboard
Smallville Billboard from New Adventures of Superboy #16. Art by Kurt Schaffenberger

Metropolis, IL – Like Rabbit Hash, Metropolis is located along the Ohio River, very close to Paducah, Kentucky. And it really is not a Metropolis (as is typically represented in the Superman movies), but is probably much closer to the Smallville of Superboy fame.  Note the similarities in the two signs above.   Metropolis has had a people living in the area for thousands of years, but the town got its name back in 1839 when the town was platted.  Everywhere you go there are Superman things, including a giant statue in town square.  The town also has another giant guy at the grocery store.  It is also the home to Fort Massac State Park, a great historical site.

-A couple of things of note:

  • On January 21, 1972 DC Comics declared Metropolis the “Hometown of Superman”.
  • On June 9, 1972 the Illinois State Legislature passed Resolution 572 that declared Metropolis the “Hometown of Superman”
  • The city holds an annual Superman Celebration held the second weekend in June.
  • The local newspaper is named The Metropolis Planet, inspired by The Daily Planet, the fictional paper in Superman’s Metropolis.
Toad Suck, AR
Toad Suck, AR

Toad Suck, AR – This name apparently comes from the days when steamboats ran the Arkansas River, well before the current Lock and Dam were built.  Legend has it that when the water was too low, the sailors would dock the steamboats and refresh themselves at the local tavern where they would “Suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.”   Toad Suck is actually only the name of the park.  The town is Bigelow, Arkansas.  However, there is a Toad Suck Convenience Mart that sells Toad Suck Souvenirs and just down the road in Houston, AR you can chow down on steaks at Toad Suck Bucks. You can even visit and like their Facebook Page.

Santa Claus, IN
Santa Claus, IN

Santa Claus, IN – Unlike its counterpart North Pole, AK, Santa Claus is in a much warmer climate. According to the History of the Town, ” it was a child who provided the inspiration in naming this community after Santa Claus. Going into the fall months of 1852, there was no Santa Claus community. Residents of the area had spent months trying to select a name for the community but none of the proposed names carried universal appeal. Then, on Christmas Eve, as the congregation gathered at the church for yet another meeting, the sound of bells was heard outside. ‘Santa!’, a jubilant child rang out, ‘It’s Santa Claus.’ “That’s it!”, shouted one of the elders. ‘Why not call it Santa Claus?’ The residents all agreed and the town of Santa Claus was born.” Like Metropolis, everywhere you turn there are Santa Claus statues.  The Post Office is the only one in the world named Santa Claus.  The town is home to a number of unique Christmassy shops and also has a small amusement park called Holiday World.

Hop Bottom, WV
Hop Bottom, PA

Hop Bottom, PA – This town is located in Susquehanna County and is very near Nicholson, PA, home of the famed Tunkhannock Viaduct. Though the name sounds funny, it does make sense.  The nearby creek bottom at one time was covered with Hop Vines, yes, the hops used to make America’s favorite alcoholic beverage.  as of 2010 there were about 350 residents in the small scenic town.

Tightwad, MO
Tightwad, MO

Tightwad, MO – This is by far one of my favorite road trip stories.  The town, located on Missouri Hwy 7, is very small — only about 30 or 40 residents. It was unincorporated until 1984 though there has been a Post Office there since the early 20th Century.  Supposedly, the town’s unusual name is said to stem from an episode in which a store owner cheated a customer, who was a postman, by charging him an extra fifty cents for a better watermelon.  There is a real bank in town called the Tightwad Bank, which I have written about on some of my other blogs, including this one. The bank sells T-shirts, mugs and hats and you can open an account and get checks with Tightwad Bank on them.  The Tightwad Cafe does not take credit cards.

Dr. Pepper, TX
Dr. Pepper, TX

Dr Pepper, TX – This is the only “fake” sign in my set today, housed outside the Dublin Bottling Plant, which used to be the only place in the world that sold Dr Pepper made with the original pure cane sugar recipe. On 12 January 2012, it was announced that Dublin Dr. Pepper will no longer be produced, after the Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company settled a trademark dispute instigated by Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  Until that time, the town would have one day out of the year when they officially became Dr Pepper, Texas.  The Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling was the oldest remaining Dr Pepper bottler until 2012, producing the beverage continuously since 1891.  As for the sign…every June the town would have Dr Pepper Days and the town, for that one day in June, would officially become Dr Pepper, Texas. By the way, notice that the population on the sign is 1024 – from the original 10-2-4 of Dr Pepper.

Bucksnort, TN
Bucksnort, TN

Bucksnort, TN – Yes, there really is a town called Bucksnort. Its a small unincorporated community in Hickman County, Tennessee. It is located near Exit 152 on Interstate 40, a few miles east of the Tennessee River, just down the Interstate from Only, TN, which I wrote about in my last post.  This town name has an unusual story. Apparently, the moonshine business was quite active in the 1880′s. There was a man named William “Buck” Pamplin who sold his homemade brew and people would say “Let’s go to Buck’s for a snort”.  As people often do the whole phrase was condensed down to “Bucksnort” and it stuck.  True or not, it makes for a great story.   By the way, there is also a Bucksnort in Alabama.

Black Gnat, KY
Black Gnat, KY

Black Gnat, KY – Black Gnat is a Green county community about five miles northeast of Greensburg on US 68. Tradition says the community name stems from a time in the late 1800s when the schoolhouse was being painted white and hordes of gnats covered the building.

Fly, Ohio
Fly, Ohio

Fly, OH – While on the subject of bugs, how about Fly, Ohio? This is home of the Fly Ferry Landing. It is just across the Ohio River from Sistersville, WV.  Not sure where the name came from.

Drain, OR
Drain, OR

Drain, OR – I love the sign “Entering Drain.”  Made me feel like my trip was about to go down the Drain.  Actually, Drain is quite a quaint place.  Like other unique towns in Oregon such as Talent and Boring, Drain was actually named after Charles C. Drain, who had emigrated west and purchased the land Drain now sits on back in 1861.  The town eventually grew around the Drain Train Station of the Southern Pacific Railroad.  Today, the town is a small touristy place, famed for the “Drain Castle“, an old Victorian house that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Drain is also home to a couple of old covered bridges.

Three Brothers, AR
Three Brothers, AR

Three Brothers, AR – Located in historic Baxter County, I could not find much pertaining to this little dot on a map.  There is a Three Brothers Church and a Three Brothers Cemetery. But that’s all I know.

Marked Tree, AR
Marked Tree, AR

Marked Tree, AR – Keeping in Arkansas, Marked Tree, is the only town in the world named Marked Tree. Of even more interest is that the town may be the only one in the world that is located between two rivers a quarter of a mile apart flowing in opposite directions. The town got its name in the 1880s.  The settlers chose “Marked Tree” because of an “old marked tree” on the bank of the Saint Francis River near the railroad camp. The story goes that Osage Indians traveling northward up the Saint Francis River marked a tree at the first point at which Little River is only ¼ mile distant across the land between the rivers. By dragging their dugout canoes across this short portage to Little River they could continue their trip northward and eliminate eight miles of up-river paddling.

Fair Play, SC

Fair Play, SC

Fair Play, SC – This is a small town in Oconee County, in the northwestern corner of South Carolina. There are a couple of churches, a couple of stores and a big lumber yard.  Did lots of digging and all I could find was that the town gets its name from a fight.

DISH, TX
DISH, TX

DISH, TX – DISH (yes, it is officially all caps) is in Denton County, northwest of Dallas. his community, established in June 2000, was originally named Clark. In November 2005, the community accepted an offer to rename itself “DISH” (all capital letters) as part of a commercial agreement with the satellite television company Dish Network.

Bugtussle, KY
Bugtussle, KY
Bugtussle, TX
Bugtussle, TX

Bugtussle – There are officially FOUR Bugtussles in the US that I am aware of.  One in Kentucky, one in Texas, one in Oklahoma and one in Alabama.  The signs above are for the Kentucky and Texas versions, which I visited on one trip the same day.

Bugtussle, Texas – Bugtussle is at the junction of Farm Road 1550 and State Highway 34, ten miles south of Honey Grove and five miles north of Ladonia in southeastern Fannin County. The community was initially called Truss, after John Truss, who settled there. It was founded in the 1890s and had a post office in 1893–94. Later the town’s name was changed to Bugtussle. The most popular legend is that the name commemorated an invasion of bugs that spoiled a church ice cream social although a variation on this anecdote suggests that the relatively isolated spot, long popular as a site of Sunday school picnics, offered little else for picnickers to do after they ate than watch the bugs tussle.

Bugtussle, Kentucky – This is literally on the Tennessee border in Monroe County.  The community was named by local comedians for its doodlebug population.

A final note: The fictitious Bugtussle, TN was the home town of Jed Clampett, from the Beverly Hillbillies.

Tomahawk, WI
Tomahawk, WI

Tomahawk, WI – Next is a chop chop of the Tomahawk. The town of about 3500 traditionally traces its founding to the establishment of construction camps for a dam and a railroad in 1886. The company leading the effort was the Tomahawk Land and Boom Company, headed by William H. Bradley, who is thus considered to be the principal founder of Tomahawk. The town site was platted in 1887, with lots sold in Milwaukee that summer. The city was incorporated in 1891. In the 10 years after the first construction camps were built, Tomahawk grew rapidly, boasting many stores, a three-story hotel, many saw mills, a paper mill, and service via three railroads.  Today is a stop on the road, but there are a few places to eat, a giant moose statue and an interesting sculpture with eagles in the middle of town.

Muleshoe and Earth, TX
Muleshoe and Earth, TX
Earth, Texas
Earth, Texas

Earth, TX – Back to Earth folks…  This town on U.S. Highway 70 and Farm Road 1055 in northwestern Lamb County, was established in 1924 by William E. Halsell. Originally Halsell called the place Fairlawn or Fairleen, but it was renamed Earth, supposedly for a sandstorm blowing when storekeeper and first postmaster C. H. Reeves had to come up with a name acceptable to postal authorities in Washington. Earth was incorporated in 1947.  They do have a great time with the name.  Ironically, it is about a 3 hour drive from the alien infested town of Roswell, NM.

Muleshoe, TX – Since I have it in the photo, how about if I close with Muleshoe. The town derives its name from the Muleshoe Ranch which was founded by Henry Black in 1856. The town was incorporated in 1926. It had been founded just 13 years earlier, when the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway laid tracks across the agrarian expanse of Bailey County.

Part IV: Some faraway places right here on earth….

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