Public Art in Buffalo -
Table of Contents
Team Razor Wire: Christopher M. Kameck and Nicholas C.
Team Razor Wire Facebook
By K. M. Kameck:
Erie Railroad Steam Locomotive, 65 Vandalia StreetBy N. C. Miller:
Larkin Then and Now, 725 Seneca Street With Max Collins
Legs, 829 Seneca Street
Untitled, Hertel Alley
Fighting Peacock, 417 Massachusetts AvenueBy Team Razor Wire:
Black Iron Bystro, 3648 South Park AvenueWith Nicole Cherry:
Tower of Power, 45 Jewett Parkway
The Worker, Republic StreetWith Edreys Wajed:
Protector of Dreams (Lion), 3133 Bailey Avenue
Protector of Dreams (Pyramids), 3148 Bailey Avenue
The Power of Community Building Through Public Art
by Jordan Soldaczewski
Buffalo Rising, August 26, 2017
Located in the old First Ward of Buffalo, Team Razor Wire is spreading positivity through community building, with their original and bright murals. Each mural is designed alongside the community, to ensure that they feel part of the project taking place within the respective neighborhood. While only working together for a year and a half, Christopher M. Kameck and Nicholas C. Miller have already completed several projects together.
“On the first day we’re like, ‘We have no idea what the design is, we don’t even know who’s going to be the designer… you might be the designer!” said Miller. “We work out designs with craft paper, and draw… and then we slowly talk about concepts, and then kind of build off that and allow people to be apart of the process from the very beginning. That allows them to feel the entire time like they are involved, instead of simply standing by.” Miller said.
The artists’ workspace includes three offices, a small gallery, and a warehouse with a wood-working room, all where they manufacture their ideas, demos, and installation pieces. On top of creating murals, the pair have professionally hung and packaged artwork for galleries, designers, and private clients for their business Buffalo Art Services. Team Razor Wire has a strong connection to Buffalo, as Kameck’s family grew up in the old First Ward – creating a personal tie to the neighborhood which they work in. They have a large amount of support from the community and just recently painted a mural on an old abandoned building down the street from their studio. Since it used to be a huge industrial district, with the constant freight of trains and boats coming through, the mural represented the working class of the neighborhood and was titled, The Worker.
Team Razor Wire tries to adapt each mural to the specific community it will be located in. The local community will even come out to help paint the murals. Team Razor Wire is also trying to build more relationships with local artists. A current project with local artist Edreys Wajed is going to be painted on two buildings on either side of Bailey Avenue and E. Amherst Street, so that they will be facing each other. This piece has turned into an activism project to build a safer community. Originally there was no push button to cross the street here even though it is a crosswalk for daycare and a school. “The main thing is to try to use these murals to slow down traffic a little and make people think about the intersection instead of just whipping through the intersection,” Kameck said. They also want to paint the crosswalks connecting the two sides of the street to tie the two murals together. However the City of Buffalo has strict rules on using art to paint crosswalks, something which local art advocates are fighting to change.
Although he used to have more of a bent on realism, Miller has been focusing on geometric patterns for his most recent murals. “This focus is just kind of like an intense look at wrapping and changing form and using light and gradients and line work to completely alter architecture.
“So it’s an exploration into light and pattern – using it to alter your reality in a way,” Miller said. “We did this mural last year and it was just so enjoyable. We got such a great response about what kind of energy people got from it because I wasn’t trying to tell a story. It was just this form… and everybody had different responses.”
At the end of every project Miller and Kameck create the “The Golden Lounge,” a celebration out in front of the completed project where everything is painted gold, reflecting the touch of gold in each of their projects. They have gold pyramids to decorate the space and a record player, playing the music that inspired the project. They lay down a carpet, some chairs, and “the golden trunk,” to bring a living room vibe right in front of the mural, spurring conversation. They describe this as the “power of the pyramids” because the pyramid attracts the sun and the energy within it. “It’s just a way to add even more positive energy into it. That’s a big part of doing this – just like interacting with the community and enjoying the city we live in,” Miller said. Kameck added, “We want more people to come out, so they view and engage… and see how it affects them. We let them know about our process, and what it means to us for them to come out.”