Field Notes: Under a small blue tent protecting him from the sun, Dray Wilmore worked to beat a self-imposed 2:30 p.m. deadline to avoid Wednesday’s heat. His section of wall was almost done, the latest addition to a mural program's portfolio. The muralists are selected by Zappos Mural Project curators, Brian “Paco” Alvarez and Gina Quaranto, to connect company and community through art, as reported by Las Vegas Weekly.
Wilmore himself is one of the more prominent muralists in Las Vegas and credits Robert Rauschenberg and Picasso among the major artists who influenced him. You can see it in the overlapping of images contained within clean cubist lines. But there's also a visual spirit of Chicago’s African-American muralist William Walker, who passed away in 2011. With similar use of sweeping lines and color, Walker’s murals in Chicago, including 1967 “Wall of Respect,” began the modern urban mural movement. It used art to mark place and reveal the street's social consciousness, an idea that spread to other cities around the U.S.
Is there social commentary in Wilmore’s work? To him, the only statement is the use of aerosol, and that it’s art. “There’s no theme or any kind of cultural thing behind it,” said Wilmore, “I’m just creating.”
Dray Wilmore at Zappos growing wall of murals. Photo: PaintThisDesert
Above: Krystal Ramirez “I Want to See More Brown Bodies” from 2017 will be reassembled at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art in Spring 2018.