Next time you find yourself near Monroe street, you might notice a colorful new addition to the neighborhood
The Madison Mural, a bright new street mural completed in August, now adorns the side of the 2625 Monroe Street building. Liz Lauer, the new owner of the building, said she commissioned the mural as a gift to the neighborhood.
“I love art and artists, and felt that I had a great canvas to share with the artists and immediate community,” Lauer said. “I like giving back to the community and creating inclusive space.”
Lauer is the owner of Lauer Realty Group, and plans to use the building as her Madison base of operations.
Henrique Nardi and Liubóv Szwako are the two artists responsible for the new mural.
“The artists did an amazing job of creating a piece that the community can be proud of and it offers space for photo ops and pride in our community,” said Lauer about Nardi and Szwako’s work.
Szwako, otherwise known as Triangulador, is a self-taught street artist and muralist from Mexico City. He enjoys painting discarded curb trash such as mattresses and other indoor furniture. Over the summer, Szwako was involved in the creation of a mural on Tutto Pasta following it being boarded up due to protesting near the restaurant.
Nardi is a Brazilian graphic designer and a professor of type-making at the University of Wisconsin. He is the creator of Tipocracia, an educational project designed to promote typography in Brazil.
The project has taken off since its creation in 2003, with more than 100 Instagram posts making up #tipocracia.
“I had a blank canvas. They offered me that wall to do basically whatever the hell I wanted with it,” Swazko said on his inspiration behind the wall. “We wanted to give back to the city.”
“One of the main inspirations for the Madison Mural was the decorative letters sign-painted in riverboats from the Amazon region in Brazil,” Nardi said. “That, along with Triangulador’s expressive and maze-like street patterns, gave the mural a Latin-American backdrop we strived for.”
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Nardi and Liubóv’s mural is one of many new pieces of street art that are beginning to pop up across the Madison area. Recently, The Badger Herald covered the many new murals which have appeared on State Street since the wave of protests this summer.
According to Lauer, the public reception of the mural has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The feedback from the neighborhood and community has been amazing,” Lauer said. “I have only heard positive comments from friends saying their kids are getting their school pictures in front of it, to what a cool thing to happen during COVID to bring happiness to a space, to what a great way to empower local artists. I gave the artists artistic freedom to create what they wanted and in doing so, they brought an iconic piece of art to life in a vibrant neighborhood.”
Szwako and Nardi’s piece covers two of the building’s walls which face the busy Monroe Street. The longest of the two walls bears the word “Madison” in bold blue and white Amazonian sign paint font and is silhouetted against an orange and purple backdrop.
On the smaller wall, there is a stylized version of the City of Madison flag in Triangulador’s signature maze pattern against a dark navy canvas. In addition to the walls, the roof of the building was adorned with a large Madison City flag that can be seen from the air, making it a “true Madison landmark,” said Nardi.
The mural is almost triumphant, displaying the word “Madison” on high in bright letters as if to pay homage to the greatness of the city.
Elements of the artists’ Latin American backgrounds also shine through the piece, displaying diversity in the mural as well, a reflection of the many different people who call Madison home.
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Though the mural appears to have much depth to it, Szwako says its meaning is left up to interpretation.
“My art is pretty abstract, and I constantly try not to give any messages or not to tell people what to think. That’s why I do it abstract, I like people seeing it however they want to see it and if they want to see a message in it, thats cool,” said Szwako.
Nardi agreed, adding “We simply wanted to inspire people through color and the shape options.”
Visitors of the mural have noted how much it brightens the neighborhood, especially during challenging times such as the ongoing coronavirus.
Lauer said she was glad to have commissioned the mural.
“If I had the chance I would do it again … spread love, beauty and art and try to make a positive impact on your community,” Lauer said.