Instagram-worthy street art
Before you check out Wide Open Walls, follow these artists on social media
What is billed as one of the world’s largest mural festivals is in Sacramento. That means you can easily get inspired without paying gallery admission.
Wide Open Walls’ third year features 44 visual artists from Sacramento and around the world, and from Aug. 8 to 18, they’ll add to the 68 murals that have been painted across town, including OBEY artist and founder Shepard Fairey’s 15-story Johnny Cash mural, painted last year onto the Residence Inn by Marriott on L Street downtown.
“The idea is to curate a world-renowned outdoor art gallery,” said David Sobon, WOW’s founder.
Artist happy hours, block parties and panel `discussions make this year’s fest more than a scenic walk through Sacramento.
Then there are the artists, many of whom flood social media with vibrant alternatives to cat pictures. Here are a few worth following:
The Los Angeles artist plans to paint a “Rosie the Riveter” mural, but not the one you remember. YS employs a bubble-gum playful, acid-trip colorful style that often tackles and overturns misygonistic tropes. The pieces are usually character-driven; her recent solo exhibit at the Corey Helford Gallery in LA, titled Miscreants, presented super-heroines hell-bent on destroying toxic masculinity.
“I tend to depict femme characters who have an aggressive or self-possessed energy to them,” YS told SN&R. “Media often represents women as sort of vapid and objectified, so I like to give them a personality, make them strong and have their own story.”
Mural location: 1804 14th St.
After the Camp Fire, Grammer made national news for taking his original passion, street art, to the remains of Paradise. He painted charcoal-colored faces on burned cars, chimneys and walls, on a mission to bring beauty to the devastated community.
A contracted artist for Disney, Grammer says he’s excited to step out of commercial art and return to the streets. His Del Paso Boulevard mural will depict an image of an African-American woman with a red rose in her hair, surrounded by multicolored geometric shapes.
“I wanted to create something that was beautiful and was celebrating the cultures that are in that area,” he told SN&R.
Location: 1515 Del Paso Blvd.
You may have caught Devlin’s mural at 21st and Q streets before it was demolished in 2018. At the site of the old Sacramento Bee parking deck, the massive pink skull, jelly fish brain was torn down to construct the Press Building apartment complex. Expect a similar style with the Sacramento artist’s piece this year, incorporating natural organisms and psychedelic patterns on a gargantuan scale.
“It’s gonna be a mixture of elements that are weeds, mushrooms and kind of just combining everything into a strange mutation of sorts,” Devlin told SN&R.
This is Devlin’s third year in the festival. In 2017, she collaborated with artist S.V. Williams on an 11th Street mural, where a purple squid strangles a fish-hungry bird underwater. Last year, she painted a letter “A” in the collaborative “Sacramento” mural at Sac State for Wide Open Walls alumni.
“I’m really excited to be enlarging some of the stuff that I’ve been working on more recently,” she said. “I think it’s great to give that kind of life to something normally small. … Instead of being a tiny little glow, or a tiny leaf or water droplet … it allows the viewer to feel like they’re there.”
Location: 1601 Del Paso Blvd.
Lin Fei Fei
Last year, Fei Fei created what’s now local-headbanger iconography at 21st and P streets, painting two giant, facing skeletons onto the two-story Holy Diver bar and music venue. In 2019, she joins the collaborative “CALIFORNIA” mural for alumni, where she’ll illustrate the letter “F” in an approach different from her more recent works, which employ stone-cold, somber mixtures of realistic and surreal figures.
“I moved from to Sacramento to China [two years ago], and I feel very honored that they consider me as a local artist right now,” she told SN&R. “I’m thinking about doing something that represents Asian culture, because California has a lot of Asian influence here.”
Location: California Automobile Museum, 2200 Front St.
On the P Street side of the Capital Athletic Club will be a visual celebration of two ballet masters, the former artistic directors Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda. The couple retired from the Sacramento Ballet in 2018.
Taylor got her start in street murals in 1977, and it’s her second year with Wide Open Walls. This year, she’ll create a 15-foot wide, 40-foot high mural recreating an old ballet rehearsal photo.
Location: 1515 8th St.
A common idea in the San Francisco painter’s work is combining animals with machinery. Sharks and ladybugs spin their propeller-heads. Motorized wasps and flies sometimes open fire like a fighter jet, or in the case of his piece at the Archival Gallery on Folsom Boulevard, smoke out from damage. “Sting” is a collaborative project with his wife, Carrie Ann. The two first met while working at the gallery.
Location: 3223 Folsom Blvd.
Instagram: @bowesnstuff; @carrieann22
The Puerto Rican artist has 100,000-plus followers on Instagram for his animal-transformation murals, where elephant trunks double as tentacles, and horses get scaly as they become reptiles.
Location: 1918 16th St.
Evelyn employs a minimalist style, where solid hues intersect with pop drawings of objectified women, their curves used as night stands and placemaking furniture.
Location: Lassen Hall at Sacramento State; 6000 J St.
An artist from Spain, Void depicts hyper-realistic portraits and abstract drawings of people. From the walls of old Spanish houses and alleyways, the scenes feel like three-dimensional portals into other spaces.
Location: 901 H St.