Riding around the national capital city it’s hard to miss the painted walls that dot D.C. and color each ward. During this lunchtime bike ride I encountered a large, three-story mural entitled “Shh!” which is located on the northwest exterior wall of the building located 8 Florida Avenue (MAP), at the southwest corner of the intersection of North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue in northwest D.C.’s Truxton Circle neighborhood.
Shh! was created in 2013 by artists James Bullough and Addison Karl. Through a creative partnership entitled JBAK, which is currently based in Berlin, Germany, each artist brings his unique vision and style to their combined body of work. Bullough’s main focus is photo-realism, with attention to ambient and deep space, layers, and geometric forms. He combines contemporary street art techniques and materials with those of realist oil painters, creating pieces of vivid color, as is evidenced by Shh!
In “Shhh,” three playful and lifelike giants mischievously crouch behind a wall. The models for the painting were students from the neighborhood who collaborated on the artwork’s design. Through their participation the mural project also taught the young artists the ability to spray paint pieces that are beyond graffiti tagging by providing supplies and pairing youth with artists they admire. The collaborative effort between the students and artists was coordinated through Words, Beats and Life, a non-profit organization whose aim is to serve as a vehicle to transform individual lives and communities through Hip-Hop.
The mural is part of the MuralsDC Collection, which is a project funded by the D.C. Department of Public Works, in cooperation with the D.C. Commission on the Arts and the Humanities. The aim of the project is to revitalize neighborhoods, provide permanent graffiti abatement to those properties that have experienced or are at risk of this type of vandalism, and to boost local businesses.