By Kiri Coakley, news correspondent
The side of Behrakis is now host to a colorful mural created by Cedric Douglas, a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design and former Northeastern artist in residence.
On the far right of the mural is the silhouette of a boy holding a spray can, from which a multitude of colorful splashes emerge to contrast with black and white flying birds, dinosaurs, mountainous landscapes and abstract circles.
“It’s the whole concept of the genie in the bottle,” Douglas said about the design. “This kid picks up a can; you pick up a can and you enter this world of wonder. I picked up the can when I was 14, 15, 16 years old, and I did not stop doing street art, graffiti, encouraging creativity.”
The mural was officially unveiled four months after its creation on Tuesday, Sept. 6, amidst the annual Fall Fest. The project was a contribution to the Northeastern Public Art Initiative, a program endorsed by President Joseph E. Aoun to foster creativity on campus.
“The kid was stenciled, the birds were stenciled and everything else was freehand,” Douglas said, which he said creates the effect of solidity against the more transient, freehand elements of the mural.
The designs were recreated in miniature and covered tables in front of the mural at which artists working with Douglas’ organizations UP Truck and UP Wall assisted visitors in using the stencils and spray paint to decorate t-shirts.
“From my experience being a street artist, people watch while you’re creating a mural and can see the process, and they’re looking at it to watch how you create it,” Douglas said. “It’s a completely different understanding for the community to see a mural in the middle of the street rather than a painting created in an enclosed studio on display at a gallery.”
Douglas hopes to continue spreading passion for and awareness of street art through his UP Truck and UP Wall initiatives. His UP (Uphams Corner) initiative was created to “engage residents in a co-visioned, co-created process leading to a final design and implementation of permanent art structures” in the community, according to the team’s website.
“I want murals all over Boston,” Douglas said. “You go to other cities, there [are] murals everywhere. Boston doesn’t have street art.”
Photo by Brian Bae