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Graffiti project revitalizes museum

By Jim Conrad
Published On: Mar 26 2013 04:11:01 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 26 2013 09:41:19 PM CDT

A plain white block wall behind the William King Museum won't be plain for long as a graffiti artist turns it into a work of art.

ABINGDON, Va. -

An artist just can't stand a blank canvas; just plain white won't do and if you're a noted graffiti artist a plain white building is just waiting to be turned into a work of art.

That's exactly what's happening to a building on the campus of the William King Museum in Abingdon. The plain white block wall won't be plain for long as graffiti artist "Patch Whisky," born Rich Miller from southern West Virginia, will take a plain building and turn it into a graffiti mural.

"I've watched him the last few years start painting these huge murals on buildings and turn buildings into sculptures and works of art," Leila Cartier with the William King Museum said.

He's just back from doing work in Miami and a lot of his work can be seen in Charleston, South Carolina. He's a professionally-trained artist; he began his graffiti project about three years ago. "I'm pretty much the guy that came from the galleries to the streets. I'm kind of like getting out of the gallery show and more into public art," Patch says.

"We have this great raw building right on our campus. We're really excited to draw the community up to William King," Cartier said.

And that's the point of his work: getting attention to his art. "I'm just going big right now. I'm trying to get people's attention I guess, so the bold bright colors is kind of like screaming from the mountaintop," he said.

He should know a thing or two about mountains; he grew up not far from Abingdon in Princeton, West Virginia. "It's good to be back up in the mountains. I've been down in Florida the last couple of months. I haven't done a lot of work here in the Appalachian Mountains so it's good," he says.

Thanks to contributors he's made his way back to the mountains but not for long, as he's constantly looking for new projects. "Right now I'm on the hunt for larger walls and ways to fund the projects. This is going to give me the next wall," he said of the William King project.

That's after Kansas, Detroit, and Pittsburg, and the list keeps growing.