District 7 Mural - Greenlaw Community Center
Branching out from the center of the work, there are two different families. In both family portraits, children are positioned next to a mother and father. The family on the left is the Golden family, who operate the community center, and on the right, the Fitzpatricks. It has been proven time and time again that statistically, children who grow up in single parent homes are all more likely to drop out of high school, join gangs, spend time in prison, have children out of wedlock, and so on. The goal of these figures is to emphasize the importance of family. These images serve to represent a new normative standard of family values in the neighborhood. Also notice that the father figures on the outsides hold lanterns, which are synonymous with the principles of finding the correct path, and or guidance.
They also interact well with the next two figures on the outside of the families, which are a young man and young lady, reading from a book. This was included to represent how crucial reading and education are to one’s future and well-being. The way the school system is set up, more funding is funneled to school districts in more economically stable parts of town. These images strive to encourage young people to read and make strides with their education. On the outsides of these images, the payoff: A young lady and young man, both holding diplomas. Brandon Marshall recounts, "I believe that subconscious communication will go a long way over the course of the following generations, prompting students to stay determined, and push toward a diploma, whether it be high school or college."
On the far ends of the mural, we find two prominent Civil Rights figures: On the left, Martin Luther King Jr., who needs no introduction. On the far right, Jesse Owens. Marshall explains, "I thought that Owens would be a good figure to portray on this mural because the community center has a strong focus on athletics. So this will encourage the youth to stand for a transcendent meaning, to stand for something more within their athletic endeavors. Again, all of these images are based around the principle of "Courage". It takes courage to raise and nurture a healthy family. It takes courage to pursue an education, and it there are worthwhile benefits. It takes courage to stand for something more, to be a light in darkness."
About the Artist
Brandon Marshall is a Memphis artist and musician. He performs as Artistik Approach together with UrbanArt's previous project manager Siphne Sylve.
Marshall is a Memphis boy, born and raised. He grew up in East Memphis, and when he was 8 or 9 years old, he and his friends started sneaking down into the vast network of drainage ditches that run under the city. The ditches were originally designed to address the problem of stagnant water and prevent the spread of yellow fever. By the time Marshall discovered them, the tunnels had become a safe place for Memphis graffiti artists to practice their skills.
Marshall and his friends were fascinated by the different artists whose work they saw both under and aboveground. By age 13, the boys were buying spray paint and trying to make their own marks. His friends eventually drifted away from graffiti, but Marshall stayed hooked. Graffiti had become a way for him to be alone in his thoughts and process emotion. Marshall spent his high school years working to improve his skills and build his identity as a graffiti artist.