Who would have imagined a graffiti artist, accustomed to using a spray can as his medium of choice, would be converted to a digital media developer, staring down code all day to create custom Drupal themes?

Not me, that’s for sure! Which is why I occasionally need to bring myself back to my urban roots, just to keep my creative juices flowing.

Before I learned how to <?php echo ‘write a bunch of code’; ?>, I was heavily involved in the Boston graffiti art movement in the late 90’s. Typically, you’d find me daily sketching letters in my Cannon hard cover black book, devising color schemes, and putting my fingers through a strenuous workout with a Krylon spray can, comparable to a Shaolin monk’s two finger push-up drill.

Recently, I was invited to participate in creating a graffiti mural for Tightly Laced Kicks, an event that features some of the rarest sneakers from local Boston residents.

Our theme was simple: we wanted to convey the feeling of the days when we painted a mural and there were no fancy panoramic camera features or costly photo editing software to record our productions. All we had were one-time use Kodak disposable cameras, tape, and an Exacto knife for manual cropping of our polished pictures, straight from the CVS image-processing area.

To achieve the look we were going for, we had to paint our pieces as if they were slightly unaligned and taped together (re-creating our portfolio presentations). Outlining a piece cleanly without this effect is hard enough, but creating the displacement effect on our pieces became the largest challenge… aside from the windy conditions, smashed rocky surfaces, and improvising our color schemes on the fly.

Upon completion, the mural turned out to be another rewarding accomplishment. Enjoy the pictures below to see the process of the production.

Joel standing in front of his craft

Tightly laced kicks graffiti mural