Local artists-in-residence cultivate hip-hop culture through street art
As artists-in-residence at the MFA, muralist Rob “Problak” Gibbs and illustrator Rob Stull are leading a multipart project inspired by the exhibition “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation.” Highlighting intergenerational connections and the importance of youth participation in cultivating hip-hop culture, the project includes a community mural, a series of original drawings, a publication and map of street art around Boston, and a documentary video.
Gibbs, co-founder of Boston’s Artists for Humanity, worked with students from Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and Artists for Humanity on conception and art direction to create a new outdoor mural in Roxbury. The mural, Breathe Life 2, centers on a girl with wings on her shoes surrounded by books, ideas, art, and knowledge emanating from her backpack. It will be painted onto the exterior of Madison Park High School, a mile from the MFA. Stull, a comic book and graphic design professional who has worked for Marvel and DC comics, created a visual response to “Writing the Future” with a series of tribute drawings to five artists in the exhibition and one to Gibbs. The black-and-white drawings use the graphic language of comic book art to honor hip-hop culture.
Gibbs and Stull collaborated on a comic-book-style publication, illustrated by Stull, that documents “The Mural Project” and features a map connecting the new mural to other street art around Boston. Beyond MEASURE Productions, a Boston-based, diasporic-owned filmmaking company, created Co-Sign, a documentary video that explores Gibbs’s and Stull’s influences and considers the core missions of street art and its essential connections to hip-hop.
Gibbs and Stull see their residency as an opportunity to energize young people and inspire a belief in the power of art. By passing on the influence of Jean-Michel Basquiat and his contemporaries, they hope to encourage new generations to share their own experiences.
- Madison Park High School
The Mural Project: Guide and Map
In this comic-book-style guide, Rob "Problak" Gibbs and Rob Stull take you on the vibrant journey of their project with the MFA. Featuring original drawings by Stull and invigorating words on the power of graffiti art and hip-hop, it culminates in a map of Boston street art within walking distance of the MFA.