DC as Canvas: “Marvin” Mural Brings Architectural Healing

"Marvin" by Aniekan Udofia (Photo By: heydayjoe)

“Marvin” by Aniekan Udofia (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Artist Aniekan Udofia created his Marvin Gaye mural in DC, “Marvin,” in September 2013 as part of a citywide mural project sponsored by Heineken. This tribute to Marvin Gaye** graces the east wall of 711 S Street NW, just west of the Shaw–Howard University Metro station.

“Art makes a random place a landmark,” says Udofia of street art. To prove it, he’s created new landmarks all over DC.

Perhaps known best locally for his murals and large-scale paintings, Udofia gained national prominence for his photorealistic illustrations and caricatures appearing in urban publications such as Vibe, The Source and XXL.

Though he was born in DC in 1976, Udofia’s parents returned their young family to Nigeria soon after completing their education in the States. Growing up in southeast Nigeria as part of the Ibibio tribe, regarded as the most ancient of Nigeria’s ethnic groups, Udofia was heavily inspired by a local culture blended with American hip hop. He never attended art school, and he never received any formal training. A love of art, music and visual expression keeps his artwork flowing.

He most recently exhibited paintings and custom pieces for the “WAT-AAH! Taking Back the Streets” exhibit at DC’s Long View Gallery. To learn more about Udofia and his vivid street art, click here.

(Photo By: heydayjoe)**[Marvin Gaye was born in DC. He first grew up in a house at 1617 First Street SW and then in his teens relocated to the Deanwood neighborhood, where he attended Cardozo High School in Columbia Heights. At Cardozo, he joined his first band, D.C. Tones.]

UPDATE: As of August 20, 2014, the Marvin Gaye mural is being covered over by construction of a two-unit condo building in the adjacent lot. Artist Udofia says that a new mural is in the works. Details to come…

DC as Canvas: “The Battle: Felipe’s Story Remixed”

Here’s the first image in our collection of DC street art. “The Battle: Felipe’s Story Remixed” was created by Joel Bergner in 2012 and appears on the sidewall of BloomBars (3221 11th Street NW), facing the alley, in Columbia Heights. While working with CUFA, Bergner lived with 11-year-old Felipe and his family in the Cidade de Deus (City of God), a shantytown in Rio de Janeiro made famous by the 2002 movie of the same name.

Felipe's Story Columbia Heights Mural DC

“The Battle: Felipe’s Story Remixed” by Joel Bergner (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Caught between feuding gods and demons, Felipe appears oblivious to the violence raging about him. “The Battle” is a reworking of a more traditional mural Bergner created in 2009, “Felipe’s Story.” He kept the main character while remaking the city scene into an epic battle for Felipe’s soul. Here’s a time-lapse video of Bergner’s remix.

We love urban exploration and discovering new gems hidden in the cityscape, whether they’re city approved or awesomely unauthorized. If you’d like to share your finds, send us your photos of DC’s street art. We’re interested in murals, wheatpastes, altered street signs, chalk sidewalk portraits, homegrown sculptures, spectacular graffiti and any other bits of beauty you may find.