International street artist brings 3-D skills to Charleston

International street artist brings 3-D skills to Charleston

From the Charleston Post and Courier

Article and photo by Sydney Franklin

On the corner of Huger and Hanover streets, a new public mural is set to welcome residents into the neighborhood. Painted on a freestanding, L-shaped wall in a vacant lot next to Taco Boy, a symbol of the city has become bold-and-bright street art thanks to internationally renowned graffiti artist Sergio Odeith.

For the project, Odeith partnered with Enough Pie, a nonprofit that promotes creative placemaking in the upper peninsula. Cathryn Zommer, the organization’s executive director, is anxious to see how Odeith’s mural will affect the community.

“Odeith is very famous for his incredible usage of corner spaces, and that corner has sat a little bit downtrodden for many years,” she said. “It’s a highly walked area and there is a thriving community just to the south. We thought the plot would be perfect.”

Odeith also created a mural at a private residence on Hester Street while in town. It’s an early 20th century view of King Street. A pop-up celebratory community gathering for the project will be held 7-9 p.m. Friday (June 5) at Corrine Jones Park, 36 Marlow St. Attendees can learn about Odeith’s work, view the Hester Street mural and listen to the local band, Archetypes. This free concert, sponsored by the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, will benefit the Charleston Parks Conservancy.

Born in Damaia, Portugal, Odeith is widely recognized for the anamorphic graffiti letters that he paints on 90-degree corners, creating a 3D effect by manipulating vertical and horizontal planes. He has created large-scale murals for major businesses such as the Coca-Cola Company, Samsung, London Shell and Estradas de Portugal.

Charleston is the third U.S. city to which Odeith has brought his spray painting skills and signature style. He also has marked the walls of Lexington, Ky., and Baton Rouge, La. In each case, he creates an image that represents the city. Kentucky has horses; Louisiana has the alligator. The mosquito will identify Charleston.

“We are thrilled that (the mural) so poignantly celebrates Charleston, South Carolina,” Zommer said. “It definitely locates us.”

Odeith, visiting the Lowcountry for the first time, sees this as a chance to make an impact on the city.

“I know people will see it and it will make them think,” he said. “I believe graffiti is like some kind of free art for everybody to have on the street. It’s something outside of the galleries. So it’s really cool that anyone can have the opportunity to take a picture of it.”

A gathering for the Huger Street mural will take place on June 20 as part of the Awakening III Solstice. Enough Pie has already invited about 18 local artists to contribute to the freestanding wall where Odeith worked.

“We are trying to bring the space back to life and we really want to see outdoor art foster in the community,” Zommer said. “The arts are a great way to have dialogue and start to inspire what people can do in their own neighborhoods.”

Sydney Franklin is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse University.