At some point, traditional art became lost. It was replaced with TV, Video Games, Facebook and other forms of digital visualization. The Unexpected Project came changed everything for Fort Smith, Arkansas. Suddenly people began talking about art on this building, art on that building, art everywhere. My mom even called me on phone while shopping at the Fort Smith Farmer's Market and I could hear the amusement in her voice as she told me about "all these artists painting things on buildings."
The Unexpected Project brought the dead back to life. It revitalized the greater downtown area of Fort smith. It is something that people in our town are proud of "owning." When visitors come from out of town, one of the things to show them in the area as part of the "tour" is taking them to see the murals.
"The completed murals includes world recognized artists Vhills, D*Face, Roa, Maser, Ana Maria, Bicicleta Sem Freio, Askew and the UAFS students. During a week, the artists painted 12 new murals which rejuvenated the historic and beautiful buildings from downtown Fort Smith and also awakened the town that didn't received so many people in its streets since a decade. Fort Smith was a former real western town at a border of the lawless Indian territory and has a rich history of legendary heroes and outlaws. From highly colorful pieces by Bicicleta Sem Freio, western-inspired artworks from D*Face ora majestic carved portrait of a Native American by Vhils, the festival was critically acclaimed by the local residents which fully embraced the event. After a week of painting, the face of Fort Smith has drastically been changed by Unexpected and the happy residents will now be living with their new history." -Justkids Vimeo Video.
The first session was completed in the summer of 2015, but stay tuned because September 2-11 of 2016 will provide ten new murals with returning artists: D*Face and Maser. New artists for the 2016 projects will include: Northiside and Southside High School Students, new UAFS students, Guido Van Helten, Bordalo II, Jaz/Pastel, Cyrcle, Okuda San Miguel and Faith 47.
Whether you are a Fort Smith native or are a visitor coming to explore, we encourage you to check out all the murals. We have created a map of the murals to help you easily find them all!
1. 5th &Garrison Ave - Artist: Askew, D*Face
2. 317 Garrison Ave. - Artist: D*Face
3. 505 Rogers Ave. - Artist: Roa
4. 7th St. & B St. -Artist: UAFS students
5. 702 Garrison Ave. - Artist: Roa
6. 800 Garrison Ave. - Artist: Ana Maria, Bicicleta Sem Freio
7. 900 Garrison Ave. - Artist: Vhills
8. 10th St & Rogers Ave. - Artist: Ana Maria
9. 1004 Garrison Ave. -Artist: Maser
Askew is a self taught artist from New Zealand who has over 20 year of experience. His portfolio consists of photography, graphic design, publishing, illustration, directed and editing music videos and moving images. You can find more information about him and his works on his website. http://www.askew1.com/ . You can find Askews mural in Fort Smith, on the backside of the new location of Neumiers Rib Room that is at 5th and Garrison.
D*Face, also known as Dean Stockton, is a street artist from London who uses spray paint, stencils, stickers and posters as his medium. You might also recognize his work from the most recent cover art of the newest Blink-182 Album. In the 2015 project, he became known for two different murals in Fort Smith. One at 5th and Garrison and the other at 317 Garrison Avenue.
Roa is an artist from Belgium. He is primarily known for his strong obsession with animals - particularly rodents. Most of his work consists of gray scale colors using various shades of black and white. He has two works that he completed in the 2015 project in Fort Smith - one is an otter and the other is a mole. They can be found at 702 Garrison Avenue and 505 Rogers Avenue (near the hotel and convention center) in Fort Smith, Arkansas. You can find out more about Roa and his work by visiting his website at: http://www.streetartbio.com/roa
Ana Maria (also Ana Marietta) was born in the center of an agricultural town in Puerto Rico but now resides in Houston, Texas. When painting her murals she uses acrylic and paint brushes. She has two murals from the 2015 project - one is located at 800 Garrison Avenue and the other is located at 10th street and Rogers Avenue.
"In my imagination, different dimension of life and time collide to create characters with mixed phenotypes, animal and human, functioning parallel to a story that I feel, from anger, melancholy or love, every second I spend on the process...but only the spectator can tell. " - Ana
Vhills, also known as Alexandre Farto, is a Portuguese based street artist born in 1987. Growing up in an urban area, he couldn't help but notice the way the the city walls molded to the historical and social changes that took place around him. "His striking form of visual poetry, showcased around the world in both indoor and outdoor settings, have been described as brutal and complex, yet imbued with a simplicity that speaks to the core of human emotions." -source
He has one mural located on the backside of a building on Garrison avenue that will be known as the Garrison Commons. You can find out more about Vhills and his work on his website: http://vhils.com/
Bicicleta Sem Freio
Bicicleta Sem Freio (translates to: No Bicycle Brake) is a two man team made up of two guys, Douglas and Renato, who met in a visual arts course at their local university in Brazil. Together they started small projects like local rock concert posters and worked their way up to collaborations with major brands such as Nike, Nokia, MTV and Levi's just to name a few. They have probably one of the most popular and colorful murals you will see in Fort Smith, Arkansas. You can easily spot their work at 800 Garrison Avenue.
Irish born artist, Maser, began his career by painting on the streets of Dublin as early as 1995 where he soon learned the respect of seasoned graffiti artists. He later studied visual arts in his home country while he established himself as a leading graffiti artist that would soon go on to partake in street art projects worldwide.. He is well known for his abstract and colorful style that can be seen at our own home at 1004 Garrison Avenue by the United States Post Office. You can even bring his work into your home by purchasing prints from his online store.
We have even used the murals as a backdrop for blogging out vehicles!