Three artists create three kings

This wall of a local Jiffy Lube is blank now, however in a month it will feature a mural of three different kings created by three different artists: Jamahl Crouch (left), Matthew Cooper (not pictured) and Ismael Muhammad "Ish" Nieves (right). The mural is part of the "Every Part Matters" project, which features the work of local artists on Jiffy Lube buildings.

Ismael Muhammad "Ish" Nieves, a muralist and graffiti artist with over 30 years of experience, will work with two up and coming artists to create a mural featuring three kings on the building of a local Jiffy Lube.

The Arts Council of Indianapolis and Jiffy Lube Indiana partnered for the "Every Part Matters" project and hired artists to paint murals on Jiffy Lube buildings throughout the city. The artists have creative control of the mural, which isn't advertising but art created for the public to view. The work of the three Black artists will be featured at the oil-changing station located at 8580 N. Michigan Road.

Nieves, a Hammond-based artist "whose work, "Crossroads," is featured in Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital's Special Medicine and Infusion Center, will lead the project.

"If we can get murals on as many of the Jiffy Lube locations as possible, that's more opportunities for more artists," Julia Muney Moore, director of public art with the Arts Council of Indianapolis, said. "Also, we liked that the Jiffy Lube locations weren't where you would normally expect to see public art ...that's the beauty of public art. It appears when you are least looking for it and it becomes part of the environment."

This project won't be the first time Indianapolis painters Jamahl Crouch and Matthew Cooper, both 28, worked together. The two are old friends from college who are excited to collaborate with each other and apprentice under Nieves.

"It definitely feels like a step forward in my career," Crouch said. "Me and Coop have been friends for a really long time, so when we found out we were working with each other it made it all the better."

Each artist will design his own king and incorporate their figure into the design. Crouch said his history creating street art inspires his king. The face is a cardboard box, and the crown is made of street signs from where Crouch worked as an artist.

"At the end of the day, you are a product of your environment," Crouch said. "That was the concept that I had in my picture. He is made of his environment, but he's made of it for the better."

The initial designs are finished. Crouch, Cooper and Nieves are now working to incorporate each figure into a cohesive piece of art. They plan to begin painting on the building in early June and finish by the end of the month.

Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.

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