The Drive By Project
A studio is more than a place for artistic contemplation. After all the notes, the discussions, the sketches and ideas, our goal was to reproduce a consistent "IDENTITY" visually to apply to areas of business and community in establishing cultural foundation. The need for us to do this came when we saw the housing boom collapse, and later, homes were being abandoned since 2009. The transition was discouraging to residents who remained in the neighborhood. Buildings and structures boarded up became places for drug trafficking and gang graffiti. Their dilapidated appearance was discouraging to passers-by and community residents. The monotone brown and grey was depressing.
Ancient peoples and civilizations always left carved and painted messages in a visual form for later generations to understand the time, or the context of their history. This was something we discussed as a starting point to produce creative ideas. Our work, in all its forms, is for people to drive by and take a reflective look at consistent displays of the art forms that build recognition. This is to send out positive messages that create consciousness and awareness that people are vital here, that they matter, that they are relevant. We are encouraging and suggesting lively accent points that encourage invitation.
The Drive By concept is two initiatives:
After collecting recycled and re-purposed wood and metal products, they are cut and prepared for painting. We produced positive symbols, visuals and creative energies with the cooperation of residents and youth from areas of the Southeast side and other communities/cities to help produce colorfully derived art panels of various sizes that follow the theme of positive reinforcement. After selecting these panels we go out to areas where the community needs art and color. Abandoned buildings and fields that are forgotten are the chosen places to display these art forms. The finished displays are an exhibit to those who walk through, or, “Drive By” and are hopefully inspired by this initiative from its resident artists and community participants.
We saw an opportunity to engage the "engines" of community–its businesses–by offering a beautiful way to invigorate them and the neighborhood. We design and install brightly colored image panels applied to the front of buildings, compiled from symbols, historical markers, and mixed graphics to encourage customers to pay attention to their establishment. The affect is a lift to the immediate area and an increase in business traffic. It also encourages traffic and interest in that community. It adds a circus effect that is so desperately needed in troubled neighborhoods and our work is being strongly received.