by Sara Farizan
PORTLAND, ME-Street Art has become a more formidable, political and respected medium in recent years with the likes of British Banksy becoming a household name. Part graffiti, part mural and part drawing, street art can bring an idea or a statement to masses of people without them ever even realizing. That’s why the Octopi Gallery in Portland, Maine allowed three of their previously featured artists to create a mural of 40 feet in width and 11 feet in height sprawling across two walls.
The Octopi gallery is a part of the Ove Bodytherapy experience, a studio that provides massages, acupuncture and yoga. This mind/body locale began to showcase local artists’ work on it’s walls until four months ago, when the gallery garnered it’s own space across from the studio, for the purpose of solely showing artwork.
The three artists who decided to venture into this project all have different styles but appreciate and are well versed in street style art. Artists Robert Tkacik and berds.one, take on one wall, filling it with a hybrid of ‘wildstyle’ graffiti, (aerosol spray paint with zany colors and words that are sometimes hard to read because of the intricacies of interwoven and overlapping letters), an anamorphic image of Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World, and geometric shapes of varying sizes. Duglas Landry takes on the second wall with his character driven graffiti. Landry, a tattoo artist, explores his own special breed of monsters and halloween themed creatures as well as nostalgic Americana imagery.
The three artists have been working tirelessly on this project for the past month, working whenever they can. The artists have embarked on this journey not for profit or in the hopes of having more exposure, but for the chance to have a space to express themselves.
The Octopi gallery unveiled the mural during a private party with a speakeasy theme including flappers, gangsters and all manner of prohibition era guests. Members of the Portland community who are interested in attending gallery parties are welcome to sign up for the gallery’s mailing list. The gallery is always open to the public on the first Friday of the month and will be open to the public, showcasing the mural on Friday, November 4th from 6:30-9 pm. For more information on how you can be involved with the gallery visit www.ovebodytherapy.com.