My friend Jackson Alves and I painted a wall in the historic neighborhood of Brewerytown in Philadelphia, as an homage to the great J.D. Salinger, painting a lettering with a quote from 'Franny and Zooey' (1961).
So... this mural has a very interesting story, here's what happened:
During the days we were painting the wall, everyone that passed by came to talk to us. The huge majority of them really loved the wall and the message and gave us amazing feedback. But the block captain lady and her friends from the local church were really offended by the use of the word "Goddam" (spelled like this in the book). Nicole and Sam, who hosted us in Philly, went out of their way to explain to the church members that this was a quote from a book that was part of the kids program in school and even found an article by a minister saying that the word was not offensive. They still weren't convinced or open to discussion but we finished the wall anyway. The day after we left Philadelphia the word "Goddam" was buffed. We were sad at first, mainly because the whole neighborhood loved it, except for a few people that didn't want to hear what we had to say. But in a way it was really interesting to have done something of impact, that raised a big discussion and got the local community very much involved. And after all, the art is out on the streets and free for interaction.
After this happened, Nicole and Sam had the fantastic idea of painting over the buffing with chalkboard paint so people can now write whatever word they want. They also painted a chalkboard next to it where people can write their thoughts about everything that has happened. Now we're being featured in a Penn University class called Scandalous Art and also some local teachers are using it for J.D. Salinger lessons. This really was a learning and teaching experience.
Thank you so much to our friends who made it all possible, Nicole, Sam and Max (who’s the owner of the amazing Brewerytown Beats and suggested the soundtrack).
Photos (digital and analog) and Video: Ricardo Perini
The buffed GODDAM, the black board version our friends did and other interactions the community had with the mural.