Sponsored by the BID and 1800 South Bell Street owner JBG SMITH, and in partnership with Arlington County and Synetic Theater, the Crystal City BID launched a design challenge in July with a call for individual artists and teams from around the world to submit their relevant experience and visual portfolio for consideration. After receiving 24 impressive entries, a jury of representatives from the BID, JBG SMITH, Arlington County and Synetic Theater selected five finalists and invited each to submit conceptual designs.
After a thorough review process, the BID announced artist Jay Shogo as the mural design competition winner. A dynamic mural featuring flowing line art in mint and black and a vivid pink background will soon adorn the façade. Mr. Shogo, whose inspiring murals can be found in prominent locations throughout the world, created a design that is a reflection of the vibrancy, creativity and characteristics of the overall Crystal City area. His mural will feature curving lines and connecting dots representing the flow of time that links the past, present and future, and the connections between human beings and their community. A recessed shadow wall in an eye-catching pink hue will incorporate a chain of curving lines.
The Crystal City BID’s Strategic Plan outlines six key themes to support a vision for sustainable growth, an enhanced sense of place, and a unified, vibrant, downtown community that includes Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard-Arlington. These themes include: Build identity; Improve place; Foster cultural vibrancy; Increase connectivity; Grow economy; and Enhance livability, equity, and sustainability.
This project aims to touch upon several key strategic plan implementation strategies to support an improved place and to foster cultural vibrancy by adding art and visual interest at Synetic Theater’s front door. In enlivening the façade of one our premier cultural institutions, the BID hopes to amplify the pedestrian experience and draw further attention to the vital role that arts and culture play in Crystal City.
See below for information about each artist team and to view their concepts and renderings. The concepts are also on display in the underground near Synetic Theater’s box office in Crystal City.
Jay Shogo founded ‘Emerald Co. Ltd.’ in Japan in 2005, creating an apparel and eyewear brand. His career as an artist began in Los Angeles in 2009. While Jay was in New York City, he learned the art of spray painting at “5POINTZ” known as the “Holy” ground of street art and has since created inspirational murals in Miami, Los Angeles, Barbados, Australia, and Korea. Throughout his art career, Jay has worked world-renowned companies and brands such as "Suntory Whisky Toki", "Heineken", "MONTBLANC" and "WeWork”.
Jay’s concept speaks to the influence of travel around the world has on his artwork. For Jay, his line art represents the experiences and connections we all share with others. The line art is created with the flowing lines as if connecting the dots as shown across time, place, experience and people. The flowing lines express space-time, time flow (the lineage of past, present and future), history, life, and good connections with people and community.
This artist team is collaborative effort between Washington, DC-based boutique event design firm SuiteNation, led by Ian Callender; Lawrence “Naturel” Atoique, whose futuristic work is well-known in the contemporary art scene; and Gregory Cummins, the founder of art advisory and contemporary artist representation agency Pintar Worldwide. SuiteNation is widely known co-founding the Blind Whino SW Arts Club in 2013, which has gained notoriety throughout the District of Columbia because of its contributions to the arts & culture conversation and its successful programming for the public. The lead artist, Lawrence “Naturel” Atoique, is a Maryland-native whose futuristic work—a blend of pop and cubism with a surrealist twist—quickly emerged in today’s contemporary art scene. With a massive social media following, Naturel’s talents have also attracted the eyes and ears of clients such as Jay-Z, Spike Lee, Paul Rosenberg, and LeBron James, Pepsi, and the National Basketball Association.
Their concept, “Light through a prism”, draws inspiration from the way white light passes through a prism and expresses the different colors that light is comprised of. This expression of color is similar to the expression of culture within a community. Special communal spaces and centers serve as prisms, expressing the color of culture back into society.
Argentine-American artist Cecilia Lueza is well known for creating vibrant public art pieces across the United States and beyond. Throughout her career, the artist has intensely explored a wide range of artistic media including painting, sculpture and monumental public art installations. Her geometric, nature inspired murals can often be found in unexpected locations such as rooftops and street intersections. Lueza's work is a personal expression of her lifelong fascination with the visual effects of color and the concepts of space, movement and transition. Through a meticulous and careful process she strives to create unique works of art of great visual impact.
Cecilia’s concept draw inspiration from color and movement. The artist hopes to capture the very essence of the Synetic Theater with an evocative design that captures the visual effects of color and the concepts of space, movement and transition. The vision for this mural is to beautify and activate the walls through a design that’s dynamic, uplifting, inviting and provides a unique sense of place and identity for the Synetic Theater.
This artist team is a collaboration between artist Juan Pineda and art firm Pipkin Creative. Juan Pineda is a DC-based visual artist whose distinct style is also characterized as urban-contemporary/street art. His connection to traditions resulted in unique mural work in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area since the mid 90's. Pipkin Creative, founded by Tom Pipkin is a Washington, D.C. creative firm that focuses on Murals, Creative Communications, Community Outreach and Engagement, Public Relations, Special Event Curation, Production and Management, Public Content Creation, and Social Media Management and Advertising.Pipkin Creative has curated and managed several large-scale mural projects in the region, including #Mural23, a 450-foot collaboration between 4 local artists including Juan Pineda located on 23rd St. in Crystal City.
Their concept Tropical City is meant to bring nature back to Crystal City. The hardscape of Crystal City can be oppressive on some levels, the artist sought to soften this environment and offer a design direction that brings plants, animals and nature back into the daily lives of workers, residents and visitors
David De La Mano is a contemporary artist from Spain known for his painstaking brushwork, the almost systematic use of black and white and his minimalist human silhouettes. Since 1993 he has produced works in the public space, working to transcribe his vision of the world around him, in the most personal and symbolic way possible. De la Mano's painting focuses primarily on the importance of social bonds, mainly through the representation of human silhouettes that evolve in groups, often facing an obstacle or a threat. He takes advantage of the evocative power of the silhouettes to stimulate the imagination of the spectators. His characters are both phantasmagorical and humorous.
De La Mano has completed projects in Spain, Norway, Italy, Taiwan, USA, Poland, England, and beyond; he exhibits his works at private individuals or in art galleries around the world.
His concept “The City in Motion” evokes the dozens of men and especially women who generate with their bodies and their movement a vivid texture and full of movement. They recreate in this way the protagonist of the creation and co-authorship of each artistic proposal. It is the public and the person who lives, with his body, the artistic process. It is the engine of creation. This proposal has the body as the undisputed protagonist of contemporary scenic creation. Rhythm and silhouettes with three possible materializations: orange and black, blue and black, and black and white.