Everywhere I go in the world, I look for the writing on the walls. In fact, I've been documenting graffiti murals since my early Hip Hop days in New York City. So when I heard there was a new graf mural going up in D.C., I went to check it out.
The corner of 14th and Quincy Street, NW in D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood. The owner of this laundromat got tired of the street gangs tagging his building. He asked a local crew graffiti artists to fight back with an artistic mural.
Tools of the trade for the artists of Words, Beats & Life-- a Hip Hop academy in D.C. where young people learn the arts of graffiti, rap, and b-boying, or breakdancing.
Graffiti artists say creating a masterpiece includes carefully spraypainting outlines and "fades," or shadows.
Corey Stowers is the art director for Words, Beats & Life. On hIs section of the mural, he writes "Dad"-- his graffiti name ever since he became a father.
This graffiti mural is dedicated to a local D.J. named "Menace."
Creating graffiti murals often has an element of danger. Try climbing a ladder with baggy pants, like 19-year old Matas Yongvongpaibul.
Joshua Vasquez says he and the crew had to repaint the mural after the police ordered the first one whitewashed. He hopes the local street gangs don't tag over this one.
This graffiti mural is dedicated to a popular local D.J. who went by the name "Menace." After he died in a car accident earlier this year, hIs homeboys at Migo Productions comissioned the mural in his honor.
The Words, Beats & Life crew Corey Stowers, Matas Yongvongpaibul, Joshua Vazquez , and Alex Garcia say they only knew DJ Menace by reputation.
Above the 3 dimensional tag by Alex Garcia (with his own nickname "Cloos"), DJ Menace is posthumously crowned for having championed reggaeton music that has become a soundtrack for the Columbia Heights neighborhood.