A to Z Challenge: The K Towns #atozchallenge

During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

K The K Towns

Kemmerer, Wyoming

Welcome to Kemmerer-Diamondville, Wyoming
Welcome to Kemmerer-Diamondville, Wyoming
US 30 east of Kemmerer/Diamondville
US 30 east of Kemmerer/Diamondville
Harvey Jackson mural on a corner in Kemmerer, WY
Harvey Jackson mural on a corner in Kemmerer, WY
Oregon Trail Marker in Kemmerer, WY
Oregon Trail Marker in Kemmerer, WY
Sumoflam with wooden Ma and Pa
Sumoflam with wooden Ma and Pa
JC Penney Mother Store
J.C. Penney Mother Store

Kemmerer, Wyoming and Diamondville, Wyoming are basically twin cities that reside in what is called “The Fossil Basin” due to the abundant fish fossils in the area.  On the way into Kemmerer I passed Fossil Butte National Monument, but did not have time to stop there. Some of the world’s best preserved fossils are found here including fossilized fish, insects, plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals.  They are apparently exceptional for their abundance, variety, and detail of preservation.   There are also “Dig-your-own” fossil quarries located in the hills surrounding ancient Fossil Lake, just west of Kemmerer and Diamondville.  So, this is a haven for fossil enthusiasts. Also, In 1902 James Cash Penney came to Kemmerer to open a business.  He set up the “Golden Rule Store” and opened its doors on April 14, 1902 in partnership with two other individuals. The partnership later dissolved, and, in 1909 Penney moved his headquarters to Salt Lake City to be closer to banks and railroads. The “Mother Store” still operates in Kemmerer. You can see more about my visit to Kemmerer and other Wyoming spots HERE.

Keystone, South Dakota

Welcome to Keystone, SD
Welcome to Keystone, SD
Mt. Rushmore near Keystone, SD
Mt. Rushmore near Keystone, SD

Keystone, South Dakota is the Gateway to Mt. Rushmore National Monument.  The town has a number of touristy shops, lots of hotels and motels and a few little resort types of things, typical of a “Gateway” town. The real point is that you need to go through Keystone to get to Mt. Rushmore National Monument.  A wonderful place to visit. Check out my post about my 2013 roadtrip from Glendive through the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota and into Keystone HERE.

Ketchikan, Alaska

My wife in Ketchikan, Alaska in 2004
My wife in Ketchikan, Alaska in 2004
Road up on stilts in Ketchikan, Alaska
Road up on stilts in Ketchikan, Alaska
House on Stilts in Ketchikan
House on Stilts in Ketchikan
Our Cruise Ship "Amsterdam" towers over the small town of Ketchikan, Alaska in 2004
Our Cruise Ship “Amsterdam” towers over the small town of Ketchikan, Alaska in 2004
Sumoflam with a Totem Pole in Ketchikan
Sumoflam with a Totem Pole in Ketchikan

In my last post I wrote about Juneau and our cruise in 2004.  After our visit to Juneau we then went on to Ketchikan, Alaska.  The town is dotted with totem poles and lots of souvenir shops.  It really was a fun place to visit.

Kensington District in Toronto, Ontario

Kensington Ave. in Toronto
Kensington Ave. in Toronto
Welcome to Kensington
Welcome to Kensington Street Art
Store Fronts in Kensington
Store Fronts in Kensington
CPub Clothing Shop in Kensington
CPub Clothing Shop in Kensington
Customers Needed sign in Kensington Market
Customers Needed sign in Kensington Market
Shops in Kensington
Shops in Kensington
Kensington Wall Art
Kensington Wall Art
King of Kensington
King of Kensington
Kensington Wall Art
Kensington Wall Art

OK, I admit it…Kensington is just a district of Toronto, Canada’s biggest city. But, in many respects it is like a little enclave of a town in the midst of the city. The smells and aromas of the food and markets are wonderful, but even better is the eye candy in the form of colorful store fronts, wall art, street art and shop signs.  I was always a fan of wall murals and art, but it was in Kensington that I fell in love with “graffiti” and Street Art, which has continued to this day.  I visited Kensington in 2008 on part of an all day trip to Toronto.  See the full story with a ton of photos HERE.

Kadoka, South Dakota

Kadoka, South Dakota water tower
Kadoka, South Dakota water tower
Badland's Travel Stop - Belvidere, SD
Badland’s Travel Stop – Belvidere, SD
Kadoka Badlands Petrified Gardens
Kadoka Badlands Petrified Gardens
Museum sign in Kadoka, SD
Museum sign in Kadoka, SD
Old Wagon Wheel Motel Neon Sign in Kadoka
Old Wagon Wheel Motel Neon Sign in Kadoka
Badlands National Park in SD
Badlands National Park in SD
"Scrappy" the Scrap Metal Buck by Brett Prang - Kadoka, South Dakota
“Scrappy” the Scrap Metal Buck by Brett Prang – Kadoka, South Dakota

Kadoka, South Dakota is the Gateway to the Badlands National Park. A great little rustic town with a couple of Trading Posts, and a few interesting statues, etc.  Scrappy, the scrap metal deer made from auto parts was fascinating to me.  See my full post about Kadoka and the Badlands HERE and HERE.

Kremlin, Montana (Honorable Mention)

Kremlin Post Office, Kremlin, Montana
Kremlin Post Office, Kremlin, Montana
Kremlin, Montana -- USA Style
Kremlin, Montana — USA Style

Kremlin, Montana is another of the interesting small communities on US Highway 2, the Hi-Line, in Montana. The town of Kremlin apparently got its name from a Russian immigrant who was laying railroad track in the area around 1890. He saw the Bears Paws mountains in the distance and they reminded him of home.

Kirkwood, Missouri (Honorable Mention)

KirkwoodLaumeier
Laumeier Sculpture Park and Museum in Kirkwood, MO
Bro. Mel Meyer – Chairs, 1996 (located downtown Kirkwood)
Bro. Mel Meyer – Chairs, 1996 (located downtown Kirkwood)

Kirkwood, Missouri is a suburb of St. Louis and is known for its massive collection of outdoor artwork, especially the pieces located in the Laumeier Sculpture Park. I am always a fan of creativity and outdoor art and the large number of huge pieces at the Sculpture Park was fascinating.  You can see photos of many of them on my post about a visit to St. Louis and Kirkwood in 2010.  The post can be seen HERE.

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A2Z-BADGE [2016]

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

Wall Art in Lexington 2014: PRHBTN & more

IMG_9871
Sumoflam with the newly designed PRHBTN truck

Lexington again has new art covering some of its formerly barren walls around town as the Street Art promoting organization PRHBTN brought in four new world renown street artists to enhance the growing collection of unique murals that dot the town.

prhbtnThe contributing artists this year included How and Nosm (twin brothers Raoul & Davide Perre  originally from Spain), ROA (from Ghent, Belgium), Andrew Hem (a Cambodian immigrant currently from Los Angeles) and MTO (a French born graffiti artist currently from Berlin). Each of these four artists have very unique styles and techniques as can be seen from their photos in this post.

The enormous "I Am MO" mural in the Lexington Distillery District
The enormous “I Am MO” mural in the Lexington Distillery District

Perhaps the most amazing (and controversial) is the behemoth 75 foot tall by 270 feet wide mural by MTO on the side of the Pepper Distillery Warehouse on Manchester. Titled “My Name is MO,” this piece of Street Art is stunning in its accuracy and complexity.  Though MTO is more well known for painting giant murals of famous celebrities, this particular character is not one. Rather, he created a complex story that explains the creation and it is artistically presented in a video that MTO produced.

http://vimeo.com/111310990

This particular massive mural has been accused of using gang symbolism. The neighboring garden center has complained that they don’t like being stared down at be this monster mural. But, ultimately was painted on private property and went through the appropriate approvals before a drop of paint made its way onto the brick and mortar canvas.

Detail of "I am MO"
Detail of “I am MO”
Detail of "I am MO"
Detail of “I am MO”
Sumoflam visits "I am MO"
Sumoflam visits “I am MO”

In a nutshell, this MTO mural epitomizes what PRHBTN is all about. PRHBTN is short for Prohibition, which is what many graffiti and street artists face. PRHBTN was started by John and Jessica Winters in 2011 to encourage the growth of street art in Lexington. They have invited well-known international artists to town to create new mural works on vacant downtown walls, getting support from private donors, local business and community organizations (including me through Kickstarter). They work with property owners to secure the brick and mortar “canvases.” Their goal to highlight this new genre of art is turning Lexington into a living street art gallery, as more than 25 large murals and a number of minor ones adorn many of the formerly bare walls of the community. Indeed, one of last year’s pieces, “Abraham Lincoln” by Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra, has drawn national attention and is a new drawing card for tourism downtown.

Sumoflam at Eduardo Kobra's Lincoln mural in downtown Lexington
Sumoflam at Eduardo Kobra’s Lincoln mural in downtown Lexington

Adding to the collection this year is the huge mural entitled “Moonshine” by Twin brothers How and Nosm. They are known for their black, white, red and pink color schemes as well as their whimsical work. This mural does not disappoint. Painted on the four story side of the LexPark parking structure in Short Street, it is sure to be missed by those driving down the street. But, for those walking to the garage from Mill St., it is difficult to miss. Try as I might, I have not been able to track down the story behind this giant masterpiece of whimsy.

"Moonshine" by HOW and NOSM, on the side of the Short Street LePark garage in downtown Lexington
“Moonshine” by HOW and NOSM, on the side of the Short Street LePark garage in downtown Lexington

Just down Short Street, about three blocks from “Moonshine,” is another new work on the side of a building, this one by Los Angeles artist Andrew Hem. Titled “The Night Watchers,” it is the latest creation by Hem, a 2006 graduate of Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, CA), and an internationally recognized muralist. Andrew has created public artworks most recently in the Arctic, as well as Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, New York and London and now Lexington.

"The Night Watchers" by Andrew Hem in downtown Lexington
“The Night Watchers” by Andrew Hem in downtown Lexington
Detail of Night Watchers by Andrew Hem
Detail of Night Watchers by Andrew Hem
Detail of Night Watchers by Andrew Hem
Detail of Night Watchers by Andrew Hem

The fourth artist, ROA, was commissioned to do his mural on the side of building just off of North Limestone in his trademark monochromatic style. His dying bison is about three stories tall and is well worth a ponderous peek.

ROA Giant Bison
Giant buffalo (bison) waiting to die, by Street Artist ROA
Sumoflam with ROA's Bison in Lexington
Sumoflam with ROA’s Bison in Lexington

And, while in Lexington, ROA added a second piece in the Lexington Distillery District on the side of an old water tank. This giant bee appears as if it had rolled over and died.

Bee on its back by ROA, located in the Lexington Distillery District
Bee on its back by ROA, located in the Lexington Distillery District

The annual PRHBTN commissions and party typically happen in October. Apparently, another well-known Chicago-based street artist with a defined style, named Left Handed Wave, just happened to sneak into town and left his mark on the front of the same building that 2013 PRHBTN artist Odeith had painted horses on the side of. His iconic style is a signature in and of itself.

Left Handed Wave work on the front door of the old Bazaar on Bryan location
Left Handed Wave work on the front door of the old Bazaar on Bryan location

But PRHBTN was not the only group commissioning work this year. LexPark, in conjunction with the Saul Good Restaurants and a couple of other companies, brought in Appalachian artist Lacy Hale, with her brother Seth, painted a wonderfully colorful Tulip Poplar mural at the stairwell entrance to the LexPark garage near the corner of Main St. and Broadway (118 North Broadway). The Tulip Poplar is the state tree of Kentucky.

"Tulip Poplar" by Lacy Hale, located at LexPark garage entrance near Broadway and Main
“Tulip Poplar” by Lacy Hale, located at LexPark garage entrance near Broadway and Main
Detail of "Tulip Poplar" by Lacy Hale
Detail of “Tulip Poplar” by Lacy Hale

While on my quest to discover more art work in town, I came across two 2013 pieces by Dronex, Inc., a collaborative of artists headed by Myke Dronez, of Lexington, perhaps the most well known street artist from Kentucky. They have two wonderfully whimsical pieces in town (and perhaps more). The first is of a train hauling bourbon barrels and can be found in the Lexington Distillery District by Buster’s. The other is on the side of a building on Lisle Industrial Ave and is called “Stockyard Commons.” Both have the Dronex drones dotting the work.

2013 Lexington Distillery District mural, by Dronex Inc.
2013 Lexington Distillery District mural, by Dronex Inc.
Dronex "Cowboy drone", detail of Lexington Distillery District Mural
Dronex “Cowboy drone”, detail of Lexington Distillery District Mural
Another Dronex drone on the Lexington Distillery District mural
Another Dronex drone on the Lexington Distillery District mural
Stockyard Commons mural by Dronex Inc., located on Lisle Industrial
Stockyard Commons mural by Dronex Inc., located on Lisle Industrial
Dronex drone riding a bull, detail of "Stockyard Commons" mural
Dronex drone riding a bull, detail of “Stockyard Commons” mural

Another fun discovery was just off North Broadway past Loudon Ave., on Washington St., which is home to the BroCoLoco Agency.  They have painted a flock of migratory origami titled “Origami Tsunami” on the side of a building., apparently completed in early July 2014.

Detail of "Origami Tsunami" by BroCoLoco in Lexington
Detail of “Origami Tsunami” by BroCoLoco in Lexington

UPDATED DEC. 1, 2014

Sumoflam at the mural of some strange characters on the side of Progress Market
Sumoflam at the mural of some strange characters on the side of Progress Market

I heard a rumor that there were a couple of murals I missed in my recent whirlwind tour of Lexington.  The one above is at 600 N. Limestone on the side of Progress Market.  No idea who painted it and can’t locate any info.  Here are a couple more pics.

Long View of mural at Progress Market
Long View of mural at Progress Market
Another view of Progress Market mural
Another view of Progress Market mural

Just down the street a couple of blocks is a small shop called Vintage Creations on Lime. The BroCoLoco Agency recently completed the wall art on the side (facing True Alley).  I really like this one!

Mural on Vintage Creations on Lime painted by BroCoLoco in 2014
Mural on Vintage Creations on Lime painted by BroCoLoco in 2014

In fact, on that coolish day in November I actually made a whirlwind trip around Lexington to do a selfie at as many of these as I could find and get to. I managed most of them. I have created a slideshow of my “Selfie Tour” and posted it HERE. You can also see my posts from last year PART I and PART II for more details.

Custom map of locations for all of the murals and street art works in Lexington is below: