LYNN — Beyond the walls, where murals will be created, are the stories of the artists who will paint them.
There are more than two dozen artists working on 27 murals throughout downtown Lynn in the second year of the Beyond Walls art project, which begins today. Many have traveled here internationally and some are from neighboring communities. Each of them has a story, one that got them to where they are today.
Beyung was born in Montreal, Canada, into a refugee family. His upbringing in Canada, and his Chinese-Cambodian background, have major influences on his work, along with his expertise in graphic design. He has worked on murals throughout Montreal’s Chinatown, one of them even being awarded the International Corporate Art Award 2017 in Italy.
JUURI calls both Tokyo, Japan, and Oklahoma City, Okla., home. Her murals are influenced by her mixed-race background and multicultural, multi-geographic upbringing. Through her art, she finds solace in the fact that home is not so much a geographical place, but a state of mind.
Leon Keer is a world-leading artist in the anamorphic street art from Utrecht, The Netherlands. He has commissions executed in Europe, the U.S., Mexico, The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, and a number of Asian countries.
Fikos was born in Athens, Greece, where he still lives. He expresses himself through neo-muralism movement and has created large scale murals across the world. He has work across Mexico, Morocco, Switzerland, and Thailand.
Eltono is a French artist who will be working with the Good to Go Crew. He has worked on pieces in Madrid, Beijing, and southern France. He has made his mark on streets in 90 cities around the world and is even showcased in a number of world renowned museums and galleries.
Mariela Ajras is a muralist from Buenos Aires, and has contributed to festivals in Europe, Mexico, and South America since 2014. The focus of her work is on the image of women in regards to femininity and collective memory. She is a psychologist as well, and that holds a huge influence on her work.
Michal Maka is from Kalisz, Poland, and his art is inspired by city spirit, people, architecture, post-industrial, and abandoned places. He enjoys changing something people deem as ugly and making it interesting.
Free Humanity, from Los Angeles, is recognized internationally for his multi-colored hearts, positive messages, and political statements. He has painted large scale murals all over the country.
Medio Peso is a collective of two artists from the Dominican Republic. They are influenced by seeking harmony between multiple cultures, such as the Caribbean, Taino, and African.
Kilia Llano, also from the Dominican Republic, is a fine artist, illustrator, and art teacher. She was born in Santo Domingo and has done illustrations for a number of newspapers and magazines. She formed her own art academy for kids in 2002 and has illustrated for several children’s books.
Bunnie Reiss was born in Maryland but raised in Colorado in a large Polish and Russian family, which has a heavy influence on her work. She has murals in Los Angeles, Mexico, Italy, Paris, India, Philippines, Detroit, Milwaukee, New York, and San Francisco.
Chrissy Lebel was born in raised in Peabody and is the owner of Lebel Signs in Lynn. She will be working with fellow Lynners Venom and Ted Kiley during the festival.
Yu-baba lives in New York and her work consists of female portraits that reveal women’s energy, confidence, and beauty. She has teamed up with Key Detail for this year’s festival, who has been active on the street art scene since the 2000s. His art is a balanced concentration of emotional reflections on reality transformed by the prism of surreal interpretation.
Sipros is from São Paulo, Brazil, and began painting street art in 1997. He is known for his “Big Ears” characters that are plastered in walls and magazines across the world. He is known across the U.S., Perú, Ecuador, Colombia, Italy, Germany, Holland and China.
Damaris Cruz is from Puerto Rico and has been working on mural projects that highlight old abandoned, wooden houses. She uses a mixed media collage with her trademarks of the yellow pages and photography.
Golden was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and is one of Florida’s most renowned street artists. He is the curator and producer of the annual Meeting of Styles Miami, which is the oldest graffiti event in the world.
Sofia Maldonado was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and her art focuses on neglected buildings and abandoned spaces. She has work presently in New York, Florida, Connecticut, Cuba, Kentucky, and Paraguay.
Ruben Ubiera, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is a neo-figurative artist who paints and draws in a style considered to be Postgraffism, or urban-pop as he prefers. After moving there at 15 years old, he was raised in The Bronx, New York.
Wasp Elder is a socially engaged artist from the United Kingdom. He paints pictures populated by enigmatic figures and unstressed backgrounds.
Imagine, born in Kathmandu, considers both Nepal, and Boston home. She paints mindful mantras in her native language and meshes the aesthetics of Sanskrit sculptures with street art influences. She established the first Children’s Art Museum in Nepal.
Kobra is a Brazilian artist who stays true to his colorful kaleidoscope theme. He depicts the faces of famous people with the technique of repeating squares and triangles.
Cambodian artist Andrew Hem was raised in Los Angeles. He was worked on shows in L.A., Chicago, Seattle, New York, London, and Zurich and has collaborated with brands such as adidas, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Sony Pictures.
Eric Skotnes, also from Los Angeles, began creating street art at the age of 16. He developed an admiration for it after riding his bicycle to the murals beside the Los Angeles River on a daily basis.
One mural on Tremont Street is already complete, but these artists don’t get to work until this week. The festival ends on Aug. 19.
“Every street art piece is unique and belongs to the street and its residents,” said muralist Leon Keer. “The temporary fact about this artform strengthens its existence.”