Sacramento is changing. It seems like every time I walk, ride a bike or drive around town, especially the downtown area, I see a new massive building being constructed, or some other old building being torn down, or (and this is one of my favorite things about Sac) a new mural going up. This year’s Wide Open Walls city-wide mural festival is about to add dozens more to the area, when from Aug. 8–18 they will welcome more than 40 artists from around the world, with nearly half of them being from right here in Sacramento! The list of artists is diverse, and it can be viewed in its entirety online at Wideopenwalls.com (click the drop down menu, select “lineup,” then choose 2019). While we’re legitimately looking forward to every single artist’s contribution to our city, here are a few who we’re extra excited about.
Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn | Baltimore, MD
This Baltimore-based art-duo, who simply go by “Jessie and Katey,” radiate positive energy and playfulness. Their bold geometric paintings transform public spaces into fun and vibrant experiences, often bleeding onto the sidewalks below them or slipping around corners of buildings, making for what feels like a more immersive experience. They’ve painted at some of the world’s top mural festivals like POW! WOW! Hawaii, Living Walls in Atlanta, Georgia, Open Walls 1 and 2 in Baltimore, Maryland, Artmosphere Street Art Biennial in Moscow and many others. They even designed the 2018 poster for Lollapalooza! Learn (and see) more at Jessieandkatey.com or in their Instagram page (@jessieandkatey).
Robert Bowen | San Francisco, CA
Bowen lives and works in the Bay Area and got his start through graffiti and street art. He briefly went on to attend art school, and his website, Robertbowenart.com, mentions that he continues his self-schooling to obtain a classical education as a painter. Bowen’s current body of work focuses on his fascination with animal/machinery hybrids. Metallic, man-made objects like airplane engines frequently replace colorful animal body parts on everything from bees to sharks and beyond. Check out some of his work on his Instagram page (@bowenstuff).
Raphael Delgado | Sacramento, CA
Raphael Delgado is a true champion of the Sacramento art scene. He runs a gallery downtown where he curates exhibits and works closely with artists, and he founded Crayons to Canvas, a holiday art drive that collects art supplies for at-risk kids, and developmentally disabled adults. He’s been named Artist of the Year by the Arts and Business Council of Sacramento, 40 under 40 by the Sacramento Business Journal, was featured in Comstock Magazine’s Young Leaders of the Year, and is also a board member of Wide Open Walls. On top of all that, the guy can paint! His giant bear mural from 2017’s Wide Open Walls festival is still on display at 1413 21st St. (above Jalapeños Restaurant) and is one of the most frequently photographed and featured murals in the area. Keep up with Delgado on Instagram (@artbyraphael) or at Facebook.com/sacsraphael to see what he gets up to this year during W.O.W.
Douglas Hoekzema AKA Hoxxoh | Miami, FL
Hoxxoh, born Douglas Hoekzema, lives and works in Miami, Florida, and is known for creating massive murals that take up the entire sides of buildings that are colorful, and which feature circular motion and three-dimensional effects, almost like a bright, oddly inviting wormhole that’s sucking you in. His work here in Sacramento for Wide Open Walls is definitely something to look forward to! Check him out on Instagram (@hoxxoh) or on his website Elhoxxoh.com.
Shane Grammer | Los Angeles, CA
Painter, sculptor and art director Shane Grammer, now based in Los Angeles but originally from Chico, is making waves with his latest body of work Beauty from the Ashes. After the devastating Camp Fire in 2018 in Paradise, very near to his hometown, Grammer was inspired to do something, so he went to ground zero and created stunning black and white murals on rubble that remained from burnt down houses, on burnt out vehicles and more. His work in Paradise brought beauty and hope to a bleak situation and has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and on television shows like NBC’s Today Show. We have it on good authority that Grammer’s mural here in Sacramento for Wide Open Walls will be one of the largest this year! Keep up with the artist on Instagram (@shanegrammerarts) or at Shanegrammer.com.
Molly Devlin | Sacramento, CA
Devlin has lived and worked in Sacramento for the past decade and has been a big part of Sacramento’s thriving visual art scene, working on such projects as ArtStreet and on countless collaborations with other local artists. Her work is brilliantly vibrant, portraying dreamlike landscapes and figures in alternative looking realities. Stare at a Devlin piece for too long and you enter another realm. Get to know her work on Instagram (@devlinmolly) or at Mollydevlinart.bigcartel.com.
Lauren YS | Los Angeles, CA
Lauren YS, a Los Angeles-based artist, is influenced by dreams, mythology, death, comics, love, sex, psychedelia, animation and her Asian-American heritage, according to her website, Laurenys.com. In addition to having been part of reputable mural festivals around the world like Art Basel Miami, POW! WOW! Hawaii, PangeaSeed SeaWalls in New Zealand and Wallskar Festival in China, Lauren YS is also a contributing writer for the renowned art publication, Juxtapoz. To say we’re excited to be getting a piece from her in Sacramento would be an understatement. Look her up on Instagram (@squid.licker) to get familiar with her style.
Keep an eye on Wideopenwalls.com for specific locations in Sacramento where each artist will be painting. You can also follow W.O.W. on Instagram for more info (@wideopenwalls).
**This piece first appeared in print on pages 6 – 7 of issue #297 (July 31 – Aug. 14, 2019)**