DETROIT, FEATURE STORY

A Few Photos from BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival

Did you attend the BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival? The inaugural event took place July 24th to the 31st in the North End, Detroit community.

Co-founded by artists Sydney G. James, Max Sansing, and Thomas “Detour 303” Evans, BLKOUT Walls was a beautiful celebration of art, community, and culture.

I took a lot of photos and recorded some video clips of my visits to the festival. In a few days, I will share a blog post about the experience.

Until then, I hope you enjoy a few photos I took at BLKOUT Walls! You can follow my Instagram to see some of the pics I shared if you like. xoxo

Mississippi artist Birdcap stands in front of his mural "Freestyle Congregation" located at 952 Clay St., Detroit. BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival
Mississippi artist Birdcap stands in front of his mural “Freestyle Congregation” located at 952 Clay St., Detroit.
Thomas "Detour303" Evans painted a beautiful mural in Detroit, Michigan for the BLKOUT Walls Festival.
Mural by Detour303 located at 662 E. Bethune in Detroit.
Artists Max Sansing and ProBlak created beautiful mural art in Detroit, Michigan for the BLKOUT Walls Festival.

I captured this photo of artists Max Sansing and ProBlak‘s murals at sunset on Saturday (7/31). We were leaving the BLKOUT Walls Block Party and I wanted to get photos of some of the completed murals. That little sunburst was perfect!

The murals are located at 7809 Oakland Avenue in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.


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Artists stop to take a look at Garden of Journey's and Ijania Cortez's murals in Detroit, Michigan. BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival 2021
Garden of Journey mural artist painting in Detroit, Michigan. Artist Ijania Cortez mural in Detroit. BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival
Murals by Garden of Journey and Ijania Cortez located at 2795 E. Grand Blvd.

WHY DETROIT WAS SELECTED AS THE CITY TO KICK OFF BLKOUT WALLS MURAL FESTIVAL

Detroit artist Sydney G. James is one of the co-founders of BLKOUT Walls Fest. During the Artist Panel discussion, she shared why Detroit was chosen as the city to kick off the mural festival.

“It had to be Detroit first because it only makes sense. Detroit is the city that taught Black people how to strut in their Blackness– all over the world. Not just this country.

We’re a product of the Great Migration. It was more of us that came up here than anywhere else. We’re blue-collar so we had the money. We had, later, the homes.

So we strut. We’re confident. We got the blue-collar. We got the work ethic. We have the ingenuity, and it’s still here.”

Artist Tylonn Sawyer painted this cool mural "Ron Incredible and Chan Man save Detroit!" Mural is located at 2881 E. Grand Blvd. in Detroit's North End neighborhood.
Artist Tylonn Sawyer painted this cool mural “Ron Incredible and Chan Man save Detroit!” Mural is located at 2881 E. Grand Blvd. in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.
Mural by Chicago artist Rahmaan Statik. Located at 8718 Oakland Ave, Detroit (North End) for the BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival in Detroit, Michigan.
Mural by Chicago artist Rahmaan Statik. Located at 8718 Oakland Ave, Detroit (North End)
"Dilla is Forever" is a J. Dilla tribute mural by artist Victor "Marka27" Quinonez located at 8841 Oakland Avenue, Detroit. BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival in Detroit, Michigan.
“Dilla is Forever” is a J. Dilla tribute mural by artist Victor “Marka27” Quinonez located at 8841 Oakland Avenue, Detroit.

I hope my kids will always remember moments like this. It was exciting to bring them along to see some of the artists painting their murals.

When we stopped by Marka27‘s J. Dilla tribute mural, one of the boys asked me, “How’d he get up so high, Mommy?!”

"Path of Giants" honors Detroit Pistons basketball players Isiah Thomas, Jerami Grant, and Ben Wallace. The murals were painted by Sydney G. James for the BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival in Detroit, Michigan.

Sydney G. James and Max Sansing talking while working on her “Path of Giants” mural at the BLKOUT Walls Block Party in Detroit’s North End community.

The mural features Isiah Thomas, Jerami Grant, and Ben Wallace. Mural located at 449 E Milwaukee Street, Detroit.

Sydney G. James paints her mural portrait of Yolanda Williams at the BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival in Detroit's North End neighborhood.
Yolanda Williams (Detroit) mural in progress by Detroit artist Sydney G. James. BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival 2021

Pictured above, Sydney painting her mural painting of Yolanda Williams. The second photo I captured of the mural still in progress of being painted.

It was cool to watch Sydney paint for a little bit. I had always wanted to watch a mural artist in action so I was thankful for the opportunity!

“Whoever controls the images, controls the stories. That’s why it’s important for us to do what we do because if we’re controlling the images, we control our own narratives. So again, it had to be Detroit because we are American Black History.”

Sydney G. James, Artist and co-founder of BLKOUT Walls Mural Festival

Do you have any favorite murals from the festival? Also, you may like to read “Twenty of My Favorite Detroit Murals.”

Follow BLKOUT Walls on Instagram here and visit the official website for the latest updates. Click here for a map of the murals.

All photographs are by Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit. Follow me on Instagram!


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