In June, Jason “Swat” Talbot was invited to paint a mural on Posto, the pizza place outside Somerville’s Davis Square. Amidst the Black Lives Matter protests, someone had tagged “BLM” on the wall, Talbot says, “really sloppily.”
Rather than just paint it over or sandblast it, which would be required by the city, [the owner] called me up to paint a mural on it,” the Cambridge artist says. The owner aimed to support the cause, but a bit more beautifully. “Being a Black gentleman myself, I support the movement, I wouldn’t paint a Band-Aid over it. I wanted to amplify the theme.”
Talbot is co-founder of Artists for Humanity, the Boston art/design studio for teens. You might be familiar with the angel wings he painted on Cambridge’s Palmer Street.
On Posto, he painted a girl inspired by his 5-year-old daughter holding a “Black Lives Matter” sign. “I’m angry, but I don’t want to let these angry times linger,” Talbot says. “When things get better I still want it to be a beautiful symbol of positivity.”
“I’m 6’ 2” and I’ve been profiled by the police,” Talbot says. “I always really tried my best to stay out of trouble in that area. But I’ve had to deal with police brutality and bias and prejudice. I wanted to make a personal mural. … One of the main reasons my life matters is to raise my [two] children. … I don’t want to worry for my life. I’m a George Floyd-sized guy. It hits home for me.”
Greg Cook runs the Wonderland blog (https://gregcookland.com/wonderland/) and is scheduled to begin painting a mural in Salem's Punto Urban Art Museum in October (http://puntourbanartmuseum.org).