Cleveland native and Los Angeles-based street artist WRDSMTH has teamed up with Cleveland street art promoter Graffiti HeArt on a “How Do I love Thee” tour that began last Friday, Aug. 6 at A&G Furniture, 2630 Payne Avenue.
The 2,200-square-foot mural—a tribute to musician Michael Stanley, who died in March—kicks off a series of 19 murals (15 of which are outside and visible to the public) that WRDSMTH will paint with the Graffiti HeArt team.
Cleveland native and Los Angeles-based street artist WRDSMTH just after finishing his “Lover” Micheal Stanley tribute mural on Payne Ave.WRDSMTH, who grew up on Cleveland’s west side, worked at Channel 8’s “PM Magazine” in the late 1980s when Stanley co-hosted the show.
“I got to meet him, he was a great guy, and we became friends and colleagues,” says WRDSMTH. “He was a legend growing up in Cleveland—such an icon—but [also] an affable, nice, and likeable guy.”
WRDSMTH says after Stanley died, he got a message from Stanley's widow telling him how much they liked WRSMTH’s work.
The Michael Stanley mural, which was completed last weekend, features lyrics from the Michael Stanley Band song “Lover,” but with WRDSMTH’s own personal tribute. “Everyone knows the lyric ‘thank god for the man who put the white lines on the highway,’ so I added ‘thank god for the man who sang,’” he explains. “I needed to write something special.”
How are 19 murals going to be installed in just one week? WRDSMTH calls himself a stencil artist—planning each design ahead of time. “A lot of planning time for the pieces happened before I arrive at the wall,” he says. “I can hit the ground running.”
Graffiti HeArt president and founder Stamy Paul says the mural tour runs through this Friday, Aug. 13, with murals going up around the city. “RTA has several, as does the MetroParks, Cleveland Institute of Art, and Campus International School,” she says. “They go from Lakewood to Cleveland Heights, and everywhere in between.”
Paul says the tour name, “How do I Love Thee” is inspired by her parents and the love they had for each other while growing up in Cleveland in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, but the name also reflects the Graffiti HeArt team’s love of the city.
Dates location of the “How Do I love Thee” tour murals“This is us giving back to Cleveland,” she says, adding, “along with our sponsors.” Sponsors include Mary and Phil Borba, FIT Technologies, DayGlo, Fran Belkin, OHR Rents, Platform Beer Co., Purple Films, Western Reserve Distillers, CLE Urban Winery, Chris Piazza, and HotCards.
Community partners include Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, RTA, Cleveland MetroParks, Campus International School. A&G Furniture, Fischer & Jirouch, Cleveland Institute of Art, Greater Collinwood Development Center, Gateway District, Warehouse District, Coventry P.E.A.C.E Campus, and City of Lakewood.
The tour will end with a Graffiti HeArt fundraiser party on Friday, Aug. 14 at the Graffiti HeArt Gallery and Museum, 4839 Superior Ave.