Whether in the Chauvet Cave in southern France in 30,000 BC or on East 106th Street and Park Avenue in New York, NY, murals have been used since the beginning of time as a unique way of expressionism.
The word “mural” is derived from the Latin word “murus,” meaning “wall.” Artists use murals as a means of illustrating freedom, propaganda, and societal influences, but the way they have been used has progressed over time.
An early technique of mural expressionism was Fresco, a mural-style painting on plaster. As urban art started to embrace a more modern popular culture, murals transformed into a tool for social activism and are found alongside buildings in many cities.
Murals gained popularity in the United States during the ‘60s and ‘70s as a means of empowerment for oppressed communities. These murals would often exhibit paintings of significant minority leaders as a way to gratify their fight for equality. Most of these murals could be found in urban cities including Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and New York.
Raleigh has a rich history of murals and the Raleigh Murals Project promotes the preservation and creation of new murals. Many murals, like the ones below, can be found in the downtown Raleigh area, and you can find out more about murals in Raleigh searching the hashtag #MakeRaleighColorful.
As murals have evolved and more recently made their way into popular culture, they have introduced a way to become interactive with the audience, often using a hashtag.
North Hills recently welcomed Kelsey Montague, an artist who painted a mural at the base of the Overlook Stairs next to Cowfish and Bruegger’s. Kelsey’s street pieces have become an Internet sensation that are globally recognized and associated with the hashtag #WhatLiftsYou.
Kelsey demonstrates what it is like to weave local culture into her artwork in Raleigh, NC. Below you can find photos of people visiting Kelsey’s mural piece at North Hills.