06/03/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/03/2021 10:08
Buffalo, NY - During the summer of 2020, six artists created new murals at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's (NFTA) DL&W Terminal, as part of a unique collaboration between the Cobblestone District Business Group, NFTA, and Albright-Knox's Public Art Initiative. Beginning in July of 2021, six additional artists will create new murals as part of Cobblestone Commons, completing a destination-making public art project that will further enhance downtown, especially the neighboring Cobblestone businesses and the site of the annual Cobblestone Live festival.
The South Park Avenue side of the NFTA Yard (DL&W Terminal) presents a unique opportunity for public art, with a large, low wall that naturally welcomes a series of thirteen painted mural panels. One panel will act as a didactic space and the remaining twelve panels have been or will each be painted by a different artist, ranging from local to national. For several of these creators, their contributions constitute their first or largest public work to date. This outstanding, distinct set of voices reflects the beautiful diversity found in the Western New York region.
The selection of artists for this year includes Monet Alyssa (American, born 1997), Morgan Blair (American, born 1986), Thomas Evans, a.k.a. Detour (American, born 1984), Karle Norman (American, born 1983), Miriam Singer (American, born 1976), and Cyrielle Tremblay (Canadian, born 1986).
'We have received enormous amounts of positive feedback from this wonderful public art project,' said NFTA Executive Director Kim Minkel. 'These murals have truly enhanced the neighborhood and promoted interest in the DL&W by adding vibrancy and community pride.'
'Cobblestone Commons is truly an expression of what it means to be part of a 'community,'' said Cory Muscato, owner of Lockhouse Distillery and member of the Cobblestone District Business Group. 'The businesses in our neighborhood share a strong sense of cooperation and seek to further distinguish our district beyond the many street festivals, sporting events, and concerts that have made it a destination for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. I am very proud to see so many businesses come together with the Albright-Knox and NFTA to give birth to such a meaningful and large-scale mural for the City of Buffalo and its communities.'
The Albright-Knox's Public Art Initiative is an innovative partnership between the museum and the County of Erie established in 2013 to enhance our shared sense of place and cultural identity in the urban and suburban landscapes of Western New York. The City of Buffalo joined the partnership in 2014. The goal of the initiative is to create spaces of dialogue where diverse communities have the ability to socially engage with, actively respond to, and cooperatively produce great public art that is capable of empowering individuals, creating stronger neighborhoods, and establishing Western New York as a critical cultural center.
Cobblestone Commons is made possible by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. Additional support provided by Ferguson Electric, Labatt USA, Savarino Companies, Lockhouse Distillery, Pegula Sports Entertainment, Port X Logistics, Watts Architecture & Engineering, Abbey Mecca, CPL Architecture, Engineering & Planning, ECIDA, RP Oak Hill Building Company Inc., Gilbane Building Company and Julia Spitz. Special consideration provided by C-2 Paint.
Monet Alyssa is a freelance illustrator born, raised, and currently residing in Buffalo. She is interested in exploring form, pattern, fashion, and nature, and crafts psychedelic and colorful motifs to adorn her figures in works that combine digital and traditional mediums. Alyssa graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2019, and her work was featured in the 2019 and 2020 editions of the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Exhibit and the 2021 Communication Arts Annual.
Morgan Blair is an artist based in Queens. She has painted large-scale murals in Heerlen, The Netherlands; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Montauk and Brooklyn, New York. She also makes hand-cut, artist-edition wooden jigsaw puzzles. Her work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions at galleries such as The Hole, The Journal Gallery, and Kasmin Gallery in New York City; Harper's Books in East Hampton, New York; and Shane Campbell Gallery and Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.
Thomas Evans, aka Detour
Thomas Evans, aka Detour, is an all-around creative specializing in interactive visuals, portraiture, immersive spaces, creative directing, large-scale public art, often based on photographs of local residents. In his ongoing experiments in visual art, music, and interactive technologies, he expands traditional views of artmaking and challenges the boundaries fine art mediums, all the while reimagining the creative process as grounded in multilayered collaboration and viewer participation.
Karle Norman is an artist living in Buffalo, New York. Born into a conservative religious group that emphasized strict adherence to the Bible, he used art as an escape. Many hours were poured into his sketchbooks, and sketching remains an integral part of his artmaking some twenty years later. Norman credits his grandmother, an artist herself, with instilling in him the desire to maintain a creative practice. His series 'Same Inside' seeks to explore the relationship of our shared experiences to our physical differences.
Miriam Singer was raised in Buffalo and now lives in Philadelphia. Singer uses a combination of printmaking and drawing to create her unique works on paper and designs for public art projects. Selected public artworks include projects for St. Andrews School in Middletown, Delaware (2020), and in Philadelphia, University City Arts League (2019), Navy Yard Transit's fleet of buses in Philadelphia (2018), and Park Towne Place apartments (2017). Singer currently teaches printmaking at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia and is a member of the artist collective Space 1026.
Quebec-based artist Cyrielle Tremblay builds dream-like worlds where she mixes poetic composition with touches of humor and traces of popular culture. Her creative explorations have led her to work in mediums ranging from mural painting, textiles, and photography to installation, and self-publishing. Tremblay has participated in various festivals and international mural events, and her work has been exhibited in Mexico, Sweden, the United States, France, Colombia, and Canada.
The selection of artists for last year was Obsidian Bellis (American, born 1993), Jason Bramer (American, born 1974), Lauren McKenzie, aka Lady Noel (American, born 1988), Ellen Rutt (American, born 1989), James Moffitt, aka Yames (American, born 1987), and Bradd Young, aka SALUT (American, born 1994).
Obsidian Bellis is an artist and DIY organizer born and raised on the East Side of Buffalo. Bellis sees her creative drive as a method to bring something new and novel into existence. Finding inspiration from such wide-ranging sources as magical illustrations found in fifteenth to nineteenth-century Coptic prayer scroll amulets and Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts to mythology to Afrofuturism, Bellis's signature style is a mixture of illustrative and mystical forms often incorporating spectacular natural elements with fantastical figures.
Jason Brammer is a Chicago-based visual artist known for his murals, site-specific installations, distinctive paintings, and mixed-media hand-painted assemblages. Brammer's murals also veer into fantastic worlds but utilize a more formal trompe l'oeil style that pierces otherwise solid forms and allows viewers to envision a portal to another place. He has received commissions from prominent clients such as LinkedIn, Hulu, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the band My Morning Jacket. Brammer's art has also been exhibited in numerous prestigious venues, including the Hangaram Design Museum in Seoul, South Korea; 751 D-Park in Beijing, China; the Union League Club of Chicago; La Luz De Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles; Linda Warren Projects in Chicago; Rockford Art Museum in Illinois; Governors State University in Chicago; SCOPE Miami Beach; and Museo Internazionale Italia Arte in Turin, Italy.
Lauren McKenzie, aka Lady Noel
Cleveland-based artist Lauren McKenzie creates a vast variety of work that focuses on diversity and bridging the black and white halves of her identity. Originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, the artist spends most of her time either in her studio or working on murals in her community that create conversations around identity, race, and womanhood. Using an array of materials and hues to highlight the beauty of people of color in her life, most of her work features portraits of either individuals she personally knows or that are derived from her own imagination as though from a melting pot of faces. McKenzie was the first Black woman to paint a mural in the City of Cleveland.
Ellen Rutt is a Detroit-based interdisciplinary artist whose work utilizes an abstract lexicon of layered shapes and primary colors that results in improvisational and evocative installations. She facilitates conversations between materiality and movement, between place and process. Her site-specific installations, mixed-media paintings, and textiles examine notions of belonging and exclusion that expose a divide between nature and culture in the American experience.
Rutt graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan. She has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art Grand Rapids, East Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art, and pt. 2 Gallery in Los Angeles. She has completed murals and installations in locations around the world including France, New York, San Francisco, Canada, and Hawaii, among others. She has been featured in Juxtapoz, Forbes, W, alive, LOAM, and was recently named one of twenty-four changemakers in 2020 by Hour Detroit Magazine.
James 'Yames' Moffitt
James 'Yames' Moffitt is a Buffalo native and co-founder of Pine Apple Company, an artist collective and gallery located in Buffalo's Allentown neighborhood. Having formally trained at the Pratt Institute, Yames is a multidisciplinary graphic artist who specializes in hand-painted signs, typography, illustration, murals, and more. You can find his work on businesses throughout Buffalo, including Hydraulic Hearth, Sato Brewpub, Larkin Square, and the National Grid Terminal B on Niagara Street. Though this was Yames's first mural with the Public Art Initiative, he completed a second mural in the summer of 2020-Love Black, in partnership with artist Edreys Wajed-and he has assisted on numerous other projects for the Public Art Initiative.
SALUT is the visual-arts moniker of the Rochester-based artist Bradd Young. Young studied graphic design and studio art in Virginia where he began doing pop-up exhibitions that would eventually lead him to open a studio in Western New York after graduation. It was then that Young began to develop a color palette of soft pastels and a style merging his loves of cartoonish surrealism and fine art.
Young has displayed work in Virginia and at several venues in both Western New York and New York City. In 2018, he was the only local muralist featured in the eleventh annual WALL\THERAPY project in Rochester. In February 2019, Young was celebrated as one of the exciting talented artists at the Memorial Art Gallery's MAG social. In spring 2019, he designed several labels for Trophy Brewery Company in North Carolina. In 2020, he was selected by Memorial Art Gallery to design the posters, cards, and pamphlets for the promotion of the museum's annual fundraiser, An Artists' Affair at the MAG.
Young is a featured artist of the Rochester-based gallery UUU Art Collective, which acts as a venue to both curate upcoming young artists and musicians and promote community activism. Currently, SALUT paintings are displayed throughout businesses in the downtown Rochester area.