Leon Rainbow paints mural with IYI(Isles Youth Institute)
“Trenton Makes” mural was designed by world renowned artist Mr. Leon Rainbow and the students of Isles Youth Institute Evening under the guidance of Stacy Heading.
In collaboration with the City of Trenton Recreation Dept, together we created the mural Trenton Makes in the foyer of the Westward Center located at 351 Prospect Street Trenton NJ.
This is just one part of the IYI beautification project. Over the summer, the students painted the inside of the gymnasium and NJ Youth Corp, painted the foyer along with the help of city staff Mr. Ron Clark and assistant.
The IYI beautification project is a service learning project that will allow our students to give back to the community where they live. During the beautification project they will receive volunteer hours, work experience, and increase their leadership ability. The beautification service learning project in hopes to establish a reduction in crime.
Went down to Washington, DC with my friend Bake for the Fine Lines Mural Jam. Near the Rhode Island Ave Red Line Station. I haven’t been to this jam in a couple of years and it was a great excuse to meet up with my DC homies – Decoy, 181, Tuc, Ultra and meet some new ones. The day it was supposed to be on got rained out so we went the next day. We got down around 10am and quickly went to work. I really had a good time chillin and doing graffiti …Sunday Funday! The music was fresh and there was like a hundred artists out there rockin- both Street Art and Graffiti killin a 900ft wall.
I wound up doing a “lluvia” piece which means “rain” in Spanish, it was fun and challenging to play with different letters. Especially the Double L in the beginning. But I think it came out good.
So I was contacted by Nina from Jet.com to create a series of murals at their Burlington, NJ fulfillment center. This center ships different types of food and produce, so the main focus of the stairway mural was fruits and veggies. I tried to give the feeling of them splashing down the stairs. The next mural was the main wall in their cafeteria. The cafe already has an modern feel so I wanted to keep it with the corporate colors purple and grey. Really tried to have it look like the logo was bursting out of the wall. This mural was difficult because it is 20ft tall and there was a set of lockers with a 4-5ft space between them and the wall. Both murals were difficult to capture, but I am very please with the result.
Collaboration between urban artists Leon Rainbow and Naval. Rendition of the Philadelphia Skyline by Leon, Abstract graffiti “Storiez” by Naval. Created for Dr. Meagan Corrado the creator of the storiez guide. For more information about the guide go to: http://storiezguide.com/
I was contacted by Latoya thru this website. I was excited to work on her game room in her Plainfield home. Upon arriving we had a lively discussion with her husband and then we got to work. We originally planned to do one wall but we decided on doing two walls both gaming themed. The first wall was a Pac Man wall which we created a Pac Man rendition of the Family. Latoya and her husband and 4 kids (3 girls, 1 boy), it was challenging to figure out what to have them each doing and what accessories to have. We used Facebook Live to get ideas for the last few. The second wall was a classic funky graffiti wall that says “Refuse to Lose” , keeping with the gaming theme. We used mainly MTN Water based spray paint paint due to the minimal ventilation. We were very pleased with the game room.
We were recently contacted by a company based in Northeast Philadelphia “I Like Windows” to paint a logo in their office. After meeting with the client we found out that they were a window manufacturer and wanted the logo in their newly created office. The logo was difficult to replicate because it needed to be placed above a staircase. Once the logo was done we painted the other walls with abstract patterns and designs in grey scale and warm colors to emphasize the logo colors.
The client was so pleased with the office we came back and painted an old utility van. The van was parked in front of the location as advertisement for the business. Curb appeal is everything.
When we painted the Patterns of Life Trailer for Shelley Elle. She asked us to paint the staircase to her living room in her house. After a brief discussion we decided to create a politically charged piece. We talked with he about her political views. I talked with Luis and he wanted to have more of a creative role in this project so we decided to split the responsibilities. Luis worked on getting the custom stencils together and I worked on putting together the background and design elements. We wanted to have bright colors in the background and neutral colors for the main images to really make them stand out. We really like how the finished piece came together.
SAGE Coalition is the heart and soul of the capitol city of Trenton, NJ’s arts community. With its recent mural production, “City of Dreams”, it further reiterate that sentiment.
Sponsored by the ETC (East Trenton Collaborative) and designed by William Kasso, the idea came about while discussing different visions for a youth themed mural. Kasso, who has a long storied history in the production of youth murals, brought up the idea of a kid blowing bubbles over a city landscape. He then enlisted his longtime friend and frequent collaborator, Leon Rainbow, to co-produce.
Leon Rainbow drafted up an abstract surreal background, full of bright yellow, oranges and reds, along with a festive cityscape to balance out Kasso’s massive image of S.A.G.E. member, Rocky Kelly’s daughter, Dreamy.
The bubbles were created with the help of children during a after school art workshop sponsored by the East Trenton Collaborative and Habitat for Humanity. Kasso, Rainbow and Earlie Harrell lead a workshop of roughly 20 students to create dramatic images of bubbles with blue hues and abstract patterns.
The bubbles were installed within the mural using a high density adhesive called Nova Gel. Once the bubbles were placed, Rainbow finished off the background while Kasso continued to work of the image of Dreamy, which stretched from the top of the wall down. The entire figure measured about 25 ft once completed.
The two artist worked in unison while Cynthia Groya, a Harvard University undergrad, documented the process.
Rocky Kelly, S.A.G.E. holistic health guru, wrote the passage to sum up the vision behind the mural, which reads: “In the City of Dreams, a dream can be fulfilled as easy as a child blowing a bubble. It is the power of your intent that will determine how big or small your dreams become”.
The entire production took 4 days; capped off by Earlie Harrell…aka…Messiah, slapping on a few layers of clear coat to seal the wall.
Leon Rainbow and William Kasso. Many call them the dynamic duo of the Trenton Art scene. Each artist has created more works of public art in the capital city than any other artist before or since. Its a pleasure to watch these two artist work their magic…especially in a city like Trenton, NJ; a city struggling to regain its former identity of prosperity and glory.
“Trenton makes the world takes”. That statement is world renown..and so are its artists. The City of Dreams is not only a beautiful piece of public art, but also a vision of what could be.
The year was 2005. Leon Rainbow and William Kasso, two local artists, collaborated on their first mural together. At the time, each artist was only acquainted for a short period; less than a year, and each of their names was beginning to rise in the local art scene. The idea came up to produce this mural while brainstorming different opportunities to evolve their work, while watching graffiti bombing videos at Kasso’s apartment. The opportunity to work together on a groundbreaking project like this was tremendous. That project was the Martin Luther King Memorial Mural.
The original mural, which was created in the 1970s by an unknown artist, was falling apart. It was simple in execution; red brushed block letters with a white background. The two artist designed the new mural with the intention on focusing on MLKs image and message.
The two worked for hours…12 to be exact..in 115 degree heat. They battled a swam of bees…and a rain storm. But alas, after a full day of trails and tribulations, the wall was complete. It was met with great fanfare and press coverage. The mural put the two graffiti artist in the local limelight and got the kind of attention that most in the graffiti scene would cloak themselves from…it made there faces known.
Since ’05, many murals and projects from each passed. In the fall of 2016, the two artist, now season wall art veterans and each with international recognition, decided to redo the MLK wall, which fell to years of decay and neglect. With proceeds raised from a Go Fund Me campaign, the two artist set out to update this iconic mural yet again.
Leon focus was the background imagery and quote, while Kasso focus was on the portrait. The quote:
“When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love”. This quote in particular was chosen due to its promotion of standing together in the face of evil and wickedness.”
“Its a great quote, especially in the way it promotes a healthy way of solving conflicts”, say Leon Rainbow.
Leon chose a bright red font for the quote that was balanced out by a baby blue colored sky and titanium white fluffy clouds. Kasso’s portrait centered the wall with a straight forward rendering of Dr. King, while in giant bold white and red letters, the word DREAM stretched across the right half of the mural.
This was a quick production…taking all of two days to produce. During their time working on the mural, the two artists shared tons of laughs and good vibes, no different than 11 years prior. The community response was at first, not so pleasant…mainly because they thought the artists were removing the previous work out of disrespect. Once the community dialogued with Kasso and Rainbow, did their collective fears began to ease.
The work ethic of these two artists and the energy it takes to constantly answer the call to create these masterworks is phenomenal. The neighborhood and city of Trenton owes a huge debit of gratitude to these gentlemen. Art is life and its consistently provides an outlet to many who otherwise have no voice. Its the missing positive link in a chain forged out of hopelessness. Art matters. Trenton matters. Art is the message…and S.A.G.E. Coalition is the method.
-Earlie Harrell, Director of Urban Affairs, S.A.G.E. Coalition Inc.