8 Cities, 8 Murals in 10 Days: Creating ‘Walls for Black Lives’

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, multiple expressions of support and demands for justice for him and countless other black people broke out. We had already started a project with black artists called blkpaper.com, a DIY protest sign making platform with great black art and photography. 

But this assignment was a whole other situation.  We had 10 days. 

The organizers behind a day of action known as the #StrikeForBlackLives approached us about doing large scale outdoor art installations in 8 of their 20+ cities where actions will take place. 

Map of Murals

That meant finding or generating original artworks by various artists, engaging with the world of commercial real estate and identify locations and then physically mount each work via hand painting, wheatpasting, or some other form of mixed media. In 10 days. But we did it!

Thanks to a great partnership with our homies at Branded Arts, and our network of artists we’ve collaborated with a bunch this year, we were able to cover all of the ground and activate a network of artists, installers, building owners and the like. 

How this Milwaukee mural got made

And in some cases there were complete breakthroughs in the hurley-burly of it all.  A case in point would be in Raleigh, NC where the owner of the Cortez restaurant enthusiastically supported the placement of a work by world-renowned artist Shepard Fairey, who agreed to contribute a work to this project. It was the first time that a work by Fairey had been mounted in North Carolina’s capital city.

The result was that all of these installations were well-received and helped energize local organizers and activists. Likewise, building owner felt a sense of pride as well in meeting the moment and supporting the effort behind the art and showing their solidarity that black lives matter. 

Brian Herrera at mural in Chicago
Body of Work