A Peter Pagast mural in Kankakee
So, because I have a studied understanding of the subject, I can say that I really like graffiti, but only when it’s art, not just scratch marks saying “I was here.” There’s a movie called Next – A Primer on Urban Painting that tells an almost scholarly history of graffiti. It also includes a survey of contemporary graffiti in numerous world cities. If you want to expand your art knowledge, I recommend watching it. Also I periodically visit Zaragoza grafica because it showcases ridiculously awesome street art. I especially like the work of ROA. Anyway, it’s with this mindset that I am looking at a small local paper some months ago and I saw an article about Peter Pagast, an accomplished painter and muralist who currently lives in Kankakee (Pagast is a studied artist who once painted murals in Philadelphia, and the work is well-documented on his website).
Pagast’s work is incredible not only in execution but also in composition. I’ve seen Killing the Bear in person. It’s a mindblowing composition with the bear so consuming, and the apparent artist character so content. Amanda looked at it with me. She’ll attest to what I am saying. We were both in awe. All of his Philadelphia murals are cool; his mural Peace Wall is really cool. Now he is painting a piece of art in Kankakee, on the wall of the New Life Pentecostal Church’s downtown health clinic.
The newspaper article said Pagast was looking for 5 interns to help with the work; they would help 4-5 weeks until the piece was complete. I mean, how cool is that? An artist getting a big wall space that he has permission to paint? In the open. For a long time. And the piece is so extensive that unlike big graffiti art that gets done in a hurry, it gets to unfold with weeks of consideration. The public artist at work for 4-5 weeks, right there in the public’s eye, to complete art. How cool is that? Before printed billboards and the takeover of public visual space by corporations, there were people out painting signs and making art in the public’s eye all the time. I want a job like that.
I’ll be following the progression of the Pagast piece in Kankakee on this site, so check back. I anticipate something great.