A line of caution tape marked off the ring. In the red corner, New York City artists Greg Rivera and L’Amour Supreme; in the blue corner, Boston boys Dana Woulfe and Percy Fortini-Wright.
The fight? SW x Boston, a 90-minute paint-off.
Hosted by ’47 Brand (a Boston-based “sports lifestyle company” spun off from Twins Enterprises on Yawkey Way) and Secret Walls (the self proclaimed “Fight Club of the art scene”), the event showcased the four artists and the timeless Red Sox/Yankee rivalry below Yawkey Way.
“I thought the event was awesome—it was a really fun, awesome turnout,” said Woulfe. “We probably had 400 people there, and that was pretty big for short notice. Tons of live energy in there. And the art was obviously really cool and it was fun to be a part of that.”
Woulfe, who runs Boston creative services firm Studio Fresh, describes himself as an abstract artist who largely focuses on color fields and geometry, primarily using color to define space.
“It was definitely a challenge,” he said. “I’m comfy working with black and white and there’s a lot you can do with tones but I like color because there is so much you can do within defining space.”
The team initially entered the arena with a rough theme of graffiti letters and the Boston skyline, but Woulfe admits that within the first two minutes the plan was ditched.
“We freestyled the rest of it from there,” he said. “I picked Percy for a reason…He’s very much in the same vein as me, messy and textural.”
Their canvas was largely filled by a graffitied abbreviation of Boston, with slugger David Ortiz’s head as the centerpiece. The piece was more painterly, with hazy glimpses of Boston streets, punctuated by a “Yankees Suck” flag atop the cityscape.
Rivera (also known as Greg Mishka) and L’Amour Supreme had a more illustration-based, graphic-novel style, with some of each artist’s classic caricatures dotting the field of Boston sports icons, from a spectral Patriot to the Bruins bear.
“I’m a self-taught artist so I consider myself an expressional doodler, and I’ve sort of developed my characters, and I try to see myself a grown-ass man drawing like a fiveyear-old kid,” Rivera said.
Judging was a two-part process with representatives from ’47 and Secret Walls combined with audience applause for their favorite creation. In the end, New York was the winner by one point.
“I was surprised,” Rivera noted of his victory. “New York City repping Boston—especially at Fenway Park—we figured there’d be a lot of emotions. We assumed we wouldn’t win because we figured Boston would want to support their home team…I was surprised and happy to win knowing that we were going our hardest.”
Woulfe viewed the night as friendly battle, and harbored no hard feelings about the New Yorkers’ taking home the gold.
“I would’ve been shocked if we won,” Woulfe said. “I was beyond thrilled at the amount of support Percy and I got at this event. We could’ve thrown whatever up on that wall and people would’ve been stoked. To have a home crowd behind us like that is really awesome.”
Studio Fresh and ’47 had collaborated previously on public art pieces during the Boston Calling Music Festival. Woulfe notes that the company has been working to define itself “more casually” through these events.
“I just think any creative art in Boston is a plus,” said South End resident Maria Escano, who attended the event. “Boston needs to get its act together in investing in these people.” She also noted the Boston needs to have a greater focus on promoting and investing in the arts.
“There are so many awesome artist in Boston that would’ve been that good or better at this event,” Woulfe said. “It was a humbling thing to represent a town that has so much talent.”
This piece was originally published by The Fenway News.
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