Today’s post introduces two examples of public art that have been installed in the neighborhood recently, one at the corner of Euclid and Carriage Lane (the Straub’s alley), the other in the Delmar Maker District.
On an early Sunday morning walk in the alley at the rear of El Burro Loco, I discovered a welcome sight—Jonas, above, aka jonuhhm, who was painting a mural on the restaurant’s side wall. Between brush strokes, Jonas said he moved to the Central West End from Chicago in 2018. “I chose this neighborhood for its small city feel, ambiance, and there is also a lot to do here.” A lot to do for Jonas it seems, includes a bit of guerrilla artwork, an example of which I had discovered and photographed long before we met. There was a Jonas cardinal on a utility box in that alley at Kingshighway, below left, and a poster on the wall that borders the Bank of America entry off Euclid, below right.
“I started putting my work up in CWE back in 2020 when the shops were boarded up with plywood. I didn’t like how that made the neighborhood look, so I started pasting up my posters to draw some attention away from the boarded up windows and bring something positive back to the CWE. At the time I drew a Black Lives Matter-themed cardinal that I would paste up to support the BLM movement.”
Jonas explained that he walks this particular alley a lot, and while most of us saw the El Burro Loco wall as part of an unattractive loading zone, he saw a blank canvas that he could transform into a work of art. Jonas approached the building’s owner for permission to paint it, and was referred by the owner to the Central West End Association’s Planning & Development Committee for approval. He got to work on August 15.
It took most of the day for Jonas to complete what he calls “silly little cardinal” in the colors of the Mexican flag.
“I picked the cardinal-theme because I like birds in general, and they also appeal to me because they look as if they are wearing a kind of mask. Besides everyone in St. Louis recognizes the cardinal,” Jonas explained.
In addition to his work in the Central West End, Jonas has some put up small installations downtown and in U. City, as well as in The Grove, above, where public art seems to be one of the key features in the district. There is an example on almost every corner on Manchester from Vandeventer to Kingshighway.
Jonas said of his “edible arrangement” piece on Newstead at Manchester, above: “In May I just put is up without asking. It was just a lonely blank sign board that I watched for about a year and nothing was placed on it, so I decided to install something of my own.” There is a larger version of “edible arrangement” on the graffiti wall near the Arch where Paint Louis 2021 was held last weekend.
In the Delmar Maker District, Neeka Allsup was given “total freedom to paint what she wanted” on the shipping container adjacent to Delmar Lee’s restaurant at Lake and Delmar, across from Third Degree Glass Factory.
The piece is titled “blue abyss on shipping container.” Neeka, who has an art studio at MADE Makerspace, 5127 Delmar, said that “the abyss” is her signature design. “It’s the symbol of both birth and death, and coming and going simultaneously.”
Neeka, who has exhibited several times at the CWE’s Houska Gallery, 4728 McPherson, will be part of a two-person show at the gallery in December 2022. She has a mural located on Cherokee St., and when we emailed this past weekend she was also working on a mural as part of Paint Louis 2021.