Murals can come in all shapes and sizes. They can also be applied to various surfaces, including asphalt. As part of the 2019 Flutterby Festival, street artist Mark Madden (Madd Ink) was asked to paint a stretch of “hellstrip” at the corner of Summer and Elmwood. Over the years, I’ve written posts on these hellstrips (the green space between the sidewalk and the curb) being filled in with asphalt, where they are supposed to be filled with grass and trees. This particular patch of asphalt is one of three paved patches that run along the northwest corner, fronting Just Pizza.
The idea for this mural was to take a public eyesore and turn it into something beautiful – like a koi painted koi pond. The result, I feel, is fabulous. It is interesting to note that while the mural was underway, a Just Pizza employee appeared and weeded the edges of the hellstrip, which was a nice bonus. The end result of the painted asphalt is tremendous, especially if you know what it looked like before the colorful paint job.
^Dronework by Kevin Wojcik
There are a few lessons learned, when taking this beautification project into consideration. First off, this asphalt hellstrip should never have existed to begin with. So this project is essentially taking lemons and making lemonade. Another end result is, when these types of beautification projects get underway, the community typically tends to get behind the effort, as we saw with Just Pizza lending a hand. Also, as Madden painted the asphalt with the help of artist Greg Goggles, he had residents walk up to him to shake his hand and thank him for his talented work. Madden said that he handed out a bunch of business cards as well (for his tattoo services), which was the biggest compliment that he could have hoped for.