You don't need to go to museums to find artwork; you can find beauty in your own backyard. In the above map, there are over 200 murals, sculptures, and tags mapped, thanks to Washington, D.C. local Michael Antonucci. He released his map on the local blog BadWolf DC, writing, "I've seen similar maps before, but they've always seemed a little sparse. They're also rarely updated." With this map, he hopes for it to continue as a community project and be able to remain a resource to the public. Antonucci was able to take a moment to answer some of Curbed DC's questions. See what he had to say about what made him want to create such a map, what were the challenges, and what he hopes to do from here.
First, to understand what the different points on the map mean, see the color key below:
· Orange = Mural
· Yellow = More than one murals or one mural by multiple artists
· Purple = Other public art not classified as a mural (e.g., sculptures)
· Light Purple = Sculptural projects in a series (e.g., pandas, callboxes)
· Green = Art attached to a garden site
· Blue = Tags or multiple tags
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from? What do you do?
I'm an educational consultant in the offseason. More concretely, I coach Harvard's debate team. I live right off of H Street NE, which I refuse to call either NoMa or Capitol Hill.
What interested you in creating this map?
I'd really like to credit BadWolf DC, who quickly published this. He's been really encouraging, and his previous mural posts have been huge. He also has the best neighborhood blog title.
The simple answer to why I mapped all this stuff is that I think it's cool — I'm interested in an art scene that's more dynamic than the D.C. museums, great as they are.
The more complicated answer is that I'm fascinated by the idea that cities have a secret language. One of my favorite comic book sequences is Chapter Four of Alan Moore's From Hell, which decodes London and its architecture. D.C. graffiti isn't part of a nefarious supernatural plot, but it does have a visual vocabulary that quickly becomes easier to read.
How long did it take to create it?
The map took me a few weeks. It would have been faster to simply assemble existing public data, but I visited and photographed each site. I presumed that public art works in clusters. Public murals are often attempts to stop graffiti, and certain locations lend themselves to tagging. Walking to one place reveals other art that I'd miss if I were just mapping on a laptop.
What do you think were the biggest challenges in creating it?
That's a lot of walking, so the blisters were challenging. As a middle aged man, I'm more reluctant to jump fences and trespass than I might have been a decade ago.
How do you see this map expanding as a community project?
I set it up as a Google Map so that I can continue to adjust it. I'm hoping that crowdsourcing allows it to improve. Previous maps have been one-off efforts, or they've been entirely crowdsourced. They're great resources, but I think crowdsourcing with curation might produce the most detail. In my ideal world, new suggestions would introduce me to sites and artists I'd have otherwise missed.
· GUEST BLOG: Mapping Washington DC's Outdoor Art [BadWolf DC]
· Mapping 61 Street Murals in Northwest, Washington, D.C. [Curbed DC]
· Mapping 18 Street Murals in Northeast, Washington, D.C. [Curbed DC]
· Mapping 10 Street Murals in Southeast and Southwest, D.C. [Curbed DC]