A Documentary Video About a Large Scale Art Project

  • Harry Hayes

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It Took Three Artists, Two Cranes, and a Lot of Spray Paint to Create This Mural (And This Documentary Video).

After shooting a documentary video about Atlanta artist Joe Dreher, aka Joe King ATL, he invited me to shoot another one. But he warned me up front—this one would be a little larger. 

Joe wasn’t kidding. It turns out the next mural was a three-man job, and MASSIVE in scale.

Nearly six stories tall, it’s so big, it took all three Atlanta artists five days to complete. 

King Memorial Station

A lot of street art is done on the sides of buildings or an occasional wall. In this instance, the mural was being painted at the King Memorial Marta Station. A six-story wall overlooking Dekalb Avenue.

Fahamu Pecou (@FahamuPecou) had been commissioned to create murals at several Marta stations. This one would be the first one. 

Because of the scale of the project, he brought two other artists in to help him—Fabian Williams (@OccasionalSuperstar) and Joe Dreher (@JoeKingATL).

Watching these guys work was almost as interesting as the art itself. For five days in a row, they strapped themselves into bright orange Marta safety harnesses, climbed into two enormous hydraulic cranes, and headed skyward. 

I can only imagine the difficulty trying to be artistic while dangling a hundred feet above the sidewalk. It gives “high art” a whole new meaning.

The finished mural is over six stories tall and took five days to paint.

“Rise Above” Concept

According to lead artist Fahamu, the concept of the mural, “Rise Above,” is based on a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. “An Individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

It’s about rising above fears, rising above prejudice, and seeing the world differently.

The documentary video features three mural artists.

Documentary Video

While painting a mural this large was obviously difficult, shooting a documentary video about it was also a challenge.

I focused mostly on the process—the safety harnesses, the movement of the cranes. Also on the surrounding environment, like signage and the trains.

The artists developed hand signals to communicate with the crane operators. That’s how they knew where the artists wanted to go.

While the entire project took five days to paint, the video didn’t require that much coverage. I shot most of the first day, and a few hours each day after that.

I wanted to capture the mural at different stages of completion.

Finally, on the last day, I shot the artists standing in front of their finished work, along with the crane operators.

I think they were just as proud of their accomplishment.

Thanks once again to Fahamu and Fabian, and especially to Joe for inviting me to shoot. 


About the Author: 

Harry Hayes is the owner and executive producer at Content Puppy Productions, a corporate video production agency based in Charlotte. Before starting Content Puppy, he spent 20+ years as an advertising writer and creative director.


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