Category Archives: Art

We Are Survivors

We Are Survivors Wall-Part 1

Music Raymond Strife x Darnell ILL-Omega Storey – “Never Cease”

When this crisis first started like many I was scared and it is uncomfortable to adjust to the necessary changes to our way of life. The #Covid19 virus crisis is like nothing I have ever experienced but I am grateful to have an outlet. #Art for me is not a hobby or a career it is a passion, a need. I express myself through art, I feel most comfortable in the moment creating art. It is the way that I deal with life! A thought hit me..we will survive. That we can adapt. There will be a brighter tomorrow.

We Are Survivors Wall-Part 2

“We Are Survivors” COVID-Inspired Street Art Conveys a Message of Hope and Resilience 

 Trenton’s acclaimed graffiti artist Leon “Rain” Rainbow responds to the coronavirus crisis with thought-provoking murals 

TRENTON, NJ, August 18, 2020 — Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, graffiti artists around the world have been using their powerful form of expression to brighten our streets with thought-provoking imagery. It took only one restless night of sleep to inspire Trenton’s Leon “Rain” Rainbow to do the same. 

“When the crisis first started, like many, I was scared. The concept for the original ‘We are Survivors’ mural just popped into my head one night,” recalls Rainbow, one of the region’s preeminent graffiti artists whose voluminous portfolio of work can be found on streets and buildings throughout New Jersey’s state capital. 

“Suddenly we had to make all these changes to our lives that were necessary but uncomfortable. I was grateful to have an outlet.”

That initial mural, a bold response to the coronavirus crisis, can be found near the intersection of Hudson and Clinton Streets. Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) was so moved by the wall that they stepped in to  sponsor the creation of two more, made possible with continued funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and NJM Insurance. 

“We are incredibly grateful to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for extending their support that allows us to promote community-based arts initiatives,” says Meaghan Singletary, Development and Project Manager for TDA. 

Rainbow’s work combines graffiti, street art and other artistic forms into innovative projects and events and speaks to a wide audience on so many levels.

“Art is not a hobby or a career for me. It is a passion, a need, how I express myself and deal with life,” says Rainbow. “We will survive (the coronavirus). We have shown that we can adapt.” The message he hopes his murals ultimately convey is that there will be a brighter tomorrow. 

You can see “We Are Survivors” at the intersection of Hudson and Clinton Streets in Trenton. TDA will be hosting an unveiling of Rainbow’s second mural in the series, sometime this fall, at the Sprout School of the Arts. 

The theme for the second mural is top of mind on every parent’s mind these days: the state of education in the age of COVID. It will illustrate the blending of arts and technology as we adapt to teaching and learning in the current climate. 

“By continuing this effort, we can encourage the ever-thriving creative community within Trenton to spread a message of strength and resiliency outward,” adds Singletary.

About the Trenton Downtown Association:

The Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the capital city a more competitive location for business owners and an engaging center for workers, residents and visitors. Since 1986, TDA has offered programs that promote economic growth and investment in New Jersey’s capital city. Our staff is involved in business recruitment and retention, public relations, advocacy, marketing support, referrals, partnership development and job creation. TDA also hosts events like the Capital City Farmers’ Market, the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series and Patriots Week to attract visitors to experience the current growth happening in the downtown. Through maintenance of a clean and safe commercial district, support for the arts and cultural heritage, promotion and public policy planning, the Trenton Downtown Association is leading the revitalization of the City of Trenton.

Press

Leon Rainbow’s Latest Creation Unveiled at Sprout U School of the Arts
Town topics

https://www.nj.com/times/2020/08/trenton-artists-mural-tests-positive-for-hope-amid-pandemic.html

https://www.newjerseystage.com/articles/2020/08/29/leon-rainbows-we-are-survivors-mural/

“We Are Survivors”
Town Topics

Rock The Boards Project

Wow, what an amazing week. I went to the protest last Sunday to see what was going on. It was very civil, and peaceful. I saw people i hadn’t seen in a while. It was both emotional and angry but the solidarity felt great! Rip George Floyd. Black Lives Matter!I got home and about an hour later i got a welfare text. Asking if i was downtown because the last live seemed to be hostile. So I went and checked it out on FB. I saw people live streaming burning police cars, and looting businesses. It was sad and disheartening but I couldn’t look away. The next day on my morning ride I went downtown to check it out. Things were amazingly pretty cleaned up. A lot of businesses were boarded up. It really took my breath away. There was so much negativity. Not the protest, the looting or the pandemic. It was just everything all together. It has been weird I have been going through the motions but everything has been so different and strange. So a few hours later I thought about the everything that was going on and the boarded up windows and it hit me … CANVASES!

I contacted my friends at the Trenton Downtown Association to see if I could get permission to paint some of the boarded up windows. I got a text a few hours later saying I can paint Delia’s Empanada Cafe boards. Next thing I know Sophie Ban was claiming the cobbler on Warren and got permission to also paint the Mill Hill Saloon and Eatery. So many things happened, and we are still going Kevin Ocasio got permission for Lalor market, Tamara Torres and Samuel J. Kanig got the Latino merchant’s involved. I say all that to say this “Thank You”. It has felt good to put out positivity out in the city and have everyone respond with so.much support!

Thanks to Sherwin-Williams for donating primer and thanks to everyone who has send support for supplies or helped work with businesses to make this happen. I would also like to recognize..Regina zillinski, janis lepelis, chuck gelb as well as everyone that shared the post or donated! To all the artists y’all did the damn thing this week! It is inspiring for me to see all the amazing pieces you created! This has really inspired me. I am an artist. This is Trenton. This is how we do! We are not done yet!

#Rocktheboards

Isles, Community Planning & Development staff, worked with Leon to secure access to those boards when business were able to reopen safely and were discarding the boards. Spearheaded by Leon, the artists’ messages will be displayed in locations in the Old Trenton Neighborhood and the Trenton Historic Development Collaborative neighborhood.

Additionally, local youth will have the opportunity to design and create positive messages of their own to be displayed along with the artists’ works. The first youth aerosol painting workshop took place on August 14 with youth from Dr. Lawrence Boyd’s Help Self organization, Generation Summer Camp. This inspirational message
“Shine Bright Like a Diamond” is on display at the garden on Academy Street in OTN.

Walter C Black School Playground

We were contacted by the Walter C Black Elementary School in Hightstown, NJ to create an obstacle course mural on their playground. The students’ raised money on an obstacle course fundraising event and they all voted to have their playground painted with fun activities. Led by Leon Rainbow a group of volunteers braved the cold weather to create this fun activities mural. Thanks to the Walter C Black PTO, Principal and District Superintendant for making this happen. Thanks to Radek, Ryan, Megan, Jessica, Diane, Jo, Robin and Rocky for all your hard work!

Drone Video by Walter C Black PTO

Drumthwacket Youth Street Art Project

The People’s House

Trenton urban artist Leon Rainbow and assistant artists Sophie Ban and Radek Selski lead a 2-week immersive mural project called “The People’s House” at Drumthwacket (The Historic Governors Mansion). The project was a collaboration with Artworks in Trenton and the Drumthwacket Foundation in Princeton. The workshop will bridge the communities through art. The project will took a dozen young creatives ages 13-18 years old from Trenton, brought them to Drumthwacket. The students learned about urban art styles and techniques and the history of the Governor’s Mansion. The students worked with the artists to create murals from start to finish. 

The People’s House Video

Tour and Design

After an exclusive guided tour of the grounds at Drumthwacket, the students returned to Artworks, brainstormed with the artists and learned about street art. The artists worked with the students to create concepts and solidify them into amazing designs. The students returned to Drumthwacket and painted the murals on panels which were installed in the garden at Drumthwacket for a 3-month period. The project was finished with a special reception with Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy at Drumthwacket on Saturday, October 26th, 2019.

Painting The Murals

Finished Murals

The People’s House Reception

Photography and Video by Andrew Wilkinson

Raritan River Ways Mural

“Raritan River Ways” was created by Leon Rainbow in New Brunswick, in Elmer B. Boyd Park overlooking the amphitheater entrance and Route 18. The mural was created as a commission from the City of New Brunswick in response to coLAB Arts‘ oral histories collected from individuals who have been boating, fishing, and stewarding the Raritan River for decades.

Completed Mural

Progress Shots

Ron Berman, Roebling Murals at Cure Arena

Spectra, providers of Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality and Partnerships services at CURE Insurance Arena, commissioned two murals on the concourse as part of the venue’s 20th Anniversary Celebration. The developer of the CURE Insurance Arena, Ronald Berman—perhaps most known for building the Roebling Market shopping center in the former Roebling company’s properties off South Clinton Avenue—will be memorialized in the first mural. The second mural will serve as an ode to the site’s former use by John A. Roebling’s Sons Company.
The artists, Leon Rainbow and Dean “Ras” Innocenzi, are renowned graffiti artists and muralists based in Trenton, NJ who creatively combine graffiti, street art, and other artistic forms into innovative projects. Working with Phil Miller and the MCIA to form a vision for the murals, the artwork will highlight and memorialize Mr. Berman along with John A. Roebling’s Sons Company’s historical roots of industry in Trenton. Special Thanks To Radek Sel and Ryan Fabritz for your help on these murals.

See Article by The Trentonian

Check Out Article by NJ.com

John A Roebling Mural
John A Roebling Mural

We also created another Trenton Themed mural in the Lower Level of the Cure Insurance Arena Outside of the Locker Rooms

Jerome Cuzo Gonzalez Mural

The mural for Jerome Gonzalez is finally done! I gotta give a lot of shout outs on this one…my partner on this project Elan WonderGallery on Main, Somerville, NJ and Arts On Division for all their support, the folks Phoenix Cafe for the awesome canvas, everyone who assisted on the artwork, everyone who helped raise funds and to all of Jerome’s family and friends for hanging out and sharing memories of a great dude. #cuzomural

Complete Cuzo Mural

Photo by Arielle Figueredo

Wall Before Mural

Rainbow Crosswalk

New intersection of Warren and Front on Ciclovia pedestrian / bike fest. Thanks Sgt. Woodhead for drone view.

https://www.trentonian.com/multimedia/photos-ciclovia-open-streets-festival-opened-up-portions-of-trenton/article_8876c718-dcc7-11e9-a0e0-df4db7b72ee3.html

Aerosol: Graffiti | Street Art | New Jersey | Now at Morris Museum

Murals from Morris Museum Exhibit
Photo by Lois Stavsky

When Will Kasso, first talked to me about doing a show at the Morris Museum I was instantly intrigued. I got really excited when I found out that we were actually painting directly onto the walls at the Morris Museum. For my piece, I chose to paint a traditional graffiti piece with my signature “Rain”, characters and background. I wanted to capture the essence of what graffiti is to me. When I arrived at the Museum I realized the walls were much larger than I expected. They had an aerial lift and plenty of paint so I knew it would be OK. I started high with my name and tried to put it at an angle to utilize more of the space. I used a roller and some bucket paint to fill in the purple background designs. When I started to add the characters I came up with the idea of having them represent the life of a graffiti art piece. The top eyeball guy is painting the piece the bottom character is painting over it. Then, My signature represents the process starting over it by someone tagging the wall after he painted over part of the piece.

Opening Reception, Thursday, September 19, at the elegant Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ is “Aerosol: Graffiti | Street Art | New Jersey | Now,”  the first U.S. museum exhibition to showcase contemporary urban artwork painted directly from floor to ceiling onto a museum’s gallery walls. Co-Curated by  Will “Kasso” Condry, and Morris Museum Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator Ronald T. Labaco. The exhibit will run until March 15, 2020.

“Aerosol: Graffiti | Street Art | New Jersey | Now” Opens at Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey
Graffiti Artists Leave Their Mark on Morris Museum

Article on ArtDaily.com

Article on Morris NewsBee

Seton Hall University Article

NJ105.com

CityLife Health Mural Project

Leon was contacted by Elizabeth at CityLife Health about creating a mural at their new North Trenton facility. It was a brand new health clinic on North Olden Ave. Once we sat down and talked we decided to make the mural version of their logo but with a Trenton twist. For the mural, he created his signature patterned background with their cross with a smile logo. He updated the cityscape to represent Trenton by adding several landmarks such as the Trenton Battle Monument and Statehouse Dome. Leon incorporated a silhouette of hands making the heart symbols to represent love and the community.