Fat City is Metairie’s business hub, but was once a nightlife hotspot. The rise of office buildings and apartments also meant the decline of tourism and foot traffic. The community was searching for a way to reclaim attention in a new, innovative way. The community decided to dive head first into the The Fat City Mural Project.
The Fat City Mural Project was started in 2014 by Metairie Business District Development in collaboration with the Arts Council of New Orleans and Fat City Friends, Inc. The project had the intention to draw new businesses and tourism to Fat City. The increased foot traffic in the area shows the transformative power of public art in communities.
In this Hiding In Plain Sight, we’re showing you the first ten murals that were completed in August 2016, and a few others that have since been created. The community hopes to add several more by the end of 2018.
All images by Marcus Carter, courtesy Arts Council of New Orleans
“Legs in the Air” by Kyle Bravo
Location: Southern Aesthetics (3815 Hessmer Avenue)
This first mural reminds us of a time when Fat City was a night life destination. Kyle Bravo‘s “Legs in the Air” features a man and woman dressed for a night out on the town. These kicking legs are painted on the Southern Aesthetics building, but can be seen standing in front of Ideal Market. Mural visitors are surrounded by businesses, but are welcomed by art that celebrates the past, present, and future of Fat City.
“Bead Dogs” by Hollis + Lana
Location: Akira Sushi Hibachi (3226 N. Arnoult Road)
Hollis and Lana share a studio in Denver, Colorado, but Hollis was born in New Orleans. “Bead Dogs” was inspired by Hollis’ childhood memories of NOLA and Lana’s fresh experiences of living here.
“Imaginatarium” by Forrest Reiff
Location: David Art Center (3020 N. Arnoult Road)
This mural by Forrest Reiff as designed to evoke freedom of the mind. It’s fittingly located at David Art Center. This same location is home to murals by other artists as well.
“Dreams” by Robert Dafford
Location: Laurel Outdoor (3613 Hessmer Avenue)
Robert Dafford has painted over 300 murals across the world. He’s a Lafayette native, but is well known in New Orleans for his mural “Clarinet,” located at the Holiday Inn near the Superdome. His Clarinet towers over downtown, and “Dream” in Fat City evokes a similar grandiose feeling. “Dreams” is about the manifestation of dream and wishes. He paints a child dreaming of something and making that a reality.
“In Fat City” by Robert Dafford
Location: Drago’s Empire Room (3521 18th Street)
“In Fat City” is emblematic of the Fat City Mural Project. Robert Dafford took a boring wall, and created a new world. What was once a plain wall is now an architectural illusion. Dafford leads the viewer into another distant space using perspective with long orthogonal lines. He makes a dull space eye-catching, reminding us why the mural project was started in the first place.
“She Dreamed of a Place Called Fat City” by Candy Chang
Location: Rocky’s Diner (3220 Edenborn Avenue)
“She Dreamed of a Place Called Fat City” is a mural that features a surreal collage as well as a site-specific story. This piece asks viewers to read and reflect on the mythologies that we create of our communities. Visitors stop, read, and take in Candy Chang‘s art. A mural like this is the only thing that will make you want to linger in a parking lot for a while.
“The Masquerade View” by Luis Hurtado
Location: Breaux Mart (2904 Severn Avenue)
Decorative masks around Carnival season in New Orleans are everywhere. In “The Masquerade View,” Luis Hurtado draws on New Orleans culture, as well as his own heritage. The murals most prominent colors speak to his Mexican roots, but the colors in the eyes uses the local palette featuring purple, green, and gold. The yellow and blue shows a sun and moon imagery that is commonly seen in Latino culture.
“Everyone’s in the Belly of Some Beast” by Chris Pavlik
Location: Eureka Square (3116 N. Arnoult Road)
Chris Pavlik tells story about people with animals. “Everyone’s in the Belly of Some Beast” shows schools of fish within a shark in order to explain how people come together. At first, this may seem like Pavlik wanted to paint hungry sharks, but it actually demonstrates how individuals are able to form groups and movement that are bigger than themselves. Together, people are stronger and are able to create change for causes they deem important.
“Carnival of Time” by Kyle Nugent
Location: Lakeside Camera Photoworks (3508 21st Street)
To locals, Carnival means celebration and public revelry. It’s a time of excitement, and sometimes, chaos. In “Carnival of Time,” Kyle Nugent combines day and night scenes to show the paradoxical way of nature. Though this piece was influenced by his time abroad, New Orleanians can relate to his unpredictable composition and his festival of colors.
“Gabriel Sez” by Aaron Harper
Location: Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission (3519 12th Street)
“Gabriel Sez” is a diagram of Aaron Harper’s relationship between his heart, mind, dream state, and other unseen sensations. His intention was to increase our reflection on these relationships. The size of this diagram makes this reflection unavoidable. Watch a time-lapse video of him creating the mural by clicking here.
What’s your favorite New Orleans Street Art? Did we miss any of your favorites?
Every Sunday, we’ll be posting murals and public art around town to Where Y’Art’s Instagram.
Take a picture, tag @WhereYart and use #NOLAmurals to let us know where your favorite murals and we’ll feature your selection.