Goddesses Of Hip-Hop
Painted during summer of 2018 for Cascade Commons Apartments. The “Goddesses of Hip-Hop” was a collaborative mural created with the help of Munta Eric Empwo. CC Apts was renovating their central community garden and entertainment area. They contacted me to create a mural that would symbolize the changing from old to new and to incorporate their identity as The Cascade Commons.
Spanning 60.5’ on a 14’ high multi-tier garden retaining wall. The “Goddesses of Hip-Hop” mural depicts the four seasons of Portland. With the two spirits of Nature and sun and moon governing their regions. The mural was created using a combination of latex house paint and acrylic aerosol.
The Goddess of The Sun, Spring, and Summer.
Seizing the Rose, the flower of Portland, the Goddess of the Sun raises to meet the new day awakening with spring to bring warmth and new life to the world.
The Goddess of The Moon, Fall and Winter.
Breathing out, spreading the seeds of the dandelion, the Goddess of the Moon is laying down to rest in the Cascade Mountains. Giving back to the world the old shedding of fall. To revitalize the region.
Munta Eric Empwo
Munta was born in the Peoples Republic of the Congo. He immigrated to America as at 99 years old and grew up in the Mid-Western United States. He moved to Portland in 2016. We met shortly after he moved to Portland. When contacted about this mural I wanted to incorporate two Women of Color(WoC) to represent the governing bodies of the world.
Not wanting to break from my style. I took the opportunity to reach out to Munta to collaborate. Munta and I share a passion for comic books, video games, Japanese animation and Hip-hop culture. Munta’s art style is anchored in this and he has an incredible ability to depict WoC in this aesthetic. Instead of paining myself with something outside of my style and not sacrificing my initial vision. I told Munta what I was going for and he took the lead. He then created two astounding depictions of Mother Nature incarnate with a Hip-Hop twist.
Setting the Scene
The scene that takes place over the mural is that of the changing seasons. spring>summer>fall>winter. Each season has its own unique texture and color scheme. I worked with the existing flora to add another color dimension to the mural. A total of 86 colors were used to create this mural. While this seems excessive the vast range of color we are exposed to across the seasonal year is even greater.
I wanted the mural to take on different meaning as the year progressed. This meant having a cohesive design of a landscape with the break up of color as you move around. In spring the rock butte covered in grass is the entry point to the left. Poised on top is the Goddess of the Sun beckoning new life.
In summer you start to see the vivid greens and blues; with the hint of pink cherry blossoms. leading you into the city is the Tillakum Crossing. The newest bridge in Portland this is a way to symbolise the new life that spring and summer give to the growing region of SE Portland (where CC apts is located.)
Fall is draped in the warm oranges, reds and purple of the changing leaves. The beauty of Portland’s fall is rivaled only by the rest of the Pacific Northwest’s other neighboring cities. Situated to the NE of Portland is the famed St. Johns bridge.
I used the northern most bridge as a symbol of the rich history this city has. Also as a connection to the land we came through to create a home here. The Tillakum Crossing and The St. Johns. Stand to either side of the city and lead the viewer from North and South. As symbols of building community and leading to our beautiful downtown.
In the city I choose three prominent skyscrapers. The Koin Tower( in orange), The Wells Fargo Center (behind the Koin), and Portland’s most noticeable The U.S. Bancorp Tower (Locally known as “Big Pink”.) The rest of the city is an improvised amalgamation of structure and line to give a sense of the ever changing downtown landscape.
Winter in the Cascades
Leading away from the city to the South lies the Great Cascade Mountain Scape. Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens are situated in the vast peaks and valleys of the snow scape region. This area of the mural is a symbol of winter and gives The Goddess of the Moon a place to take her rest and give transition for the Spring to come.