My mural is simply about getting back up after you’ve been knocked down.
When I first came to Coney Island 20 years ago (as a kid writing on trains and just wanting to see the Wonder Wheel), it looked quite literally like a car wreck. Like a classic American car, born out of the industrial boom and endless optimism.
Once bold beautiful and thriving, it somehow got off-course, dinged up and left to neglect.
(As any once great city, place or thing that embodies the collective American identity, the actual history and politics involved are much more complex than this broad stroke overview. But as a 16-year-old kid, this is how I experienced Coney Island.)
Since Coney Island is now on the upswing and literally being rebuilt, I aimed to highlight on the energy of that transition, and embrace the past as well as the future. I find personally that the “getting back up” after being knocked down is not only the most rewarding of challenges but also the most fertile ground for true empowerment and growth. (Also I enjoy challenging the negative perceptions, or the thought “this car is old and dinged up, I have to get a new one”… Although this approach is often used in redevelopment I believe this is the wrong strategy for many situations. I feel like Coney Island is doing it correctly.) (A cropped version of TRIUMPH stands as an improperly spelled TRY, alluding to this re development and its reward)
Since I view this site more as an outdoor museum than a collection of murals I aimed to give Coney Island a piece that is slightly familiar and engaging but not literal, immediate or conclusive. Like an unfinished puzzle or unanswered question, my desire is to jar memories and associations from each viewer and invite them to create their own narrative and conclusions from the work.
Lastly … this probably isn’t for the write up of the wall but just so you have a glimpse into my personal narrative with this piece. Before my trip 20 years ago to Coney I was undergoing personal redevelopment. I had been in a horrific car wreck that ended up being the best thing for me. While I had to relearn how to read, write and walk, it also created a massive and much needed shift where I transitioned from a world of drugs, negativity and hopelessness into a world where I had purpose, strong identity and creative outlet through graffiti and art. Although a bit cliché this event probably saved my life and thus forth is a very strong personal motif for me.
Chicago based contemporary artist POSE has spent most his life painting graffiti and working as a billboard and sign painter. His work draws heavily on graphic communication. Pulling from these quick, loud and visceral worlds he re-contextualizes and obscures the familiar. Like an unfinished puzzle, his work invites viewers to pick up the pieces and get involved. Through bits of street signage and nostalgic slices of Americana, the aim is always to engage and express the complexities of the human condition.
POSE explores the way in which the story is being told, creating an experiential art environment that the viewer can live and walk through. Aligning this style of storytelling with human themes like love and fear, POSE’s artwork disarms and takes the audience out of their present moment inside a different reality.
As his work evolves, so do POSE’s methods of encouraging people to let their imaginations run wild. POSE has added three-dimensional installations to his repertoire, the result is an experiential art environment that the viewer can live and walk through.
POSE has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Dubai, and London. He’s painted large-scale murals all over the world. In 2015, POSE was included in CNN’s international series, Ones to Watch.