Kitchen Sink Studios presents "The Tallest Mural in Arizona," a documentary film on the creation of a new mural in central Phoenix by Berlin-based JBAK.
Love. Art. Family. Rebirth. All of them converge in one place in central Phoenix as James Bullough and Addison Karl, the American-born and Berlin-based graffiti artist duo known as JBAK, create a stunning piece of public art as part of the revitalization of a high-rise office building into a creative hub. Chris Nieto, who commissioned an Addison Karl mural on his downtown Phoenix building a year prior, was enlisted by JBAK to find a building owner willing to commission another work. Nieto connected with building owners and developers Tim O’Neil and Bob Karber, whom recently purchased an office high-rise on a very busy intersection in Downtown Phoenix. O’Neil and Karber saw this as a rare opportunity to commission a very special piece of public art and jumped on the opportunity to commission the artists to paint a mural.
Here's how Nieto summarized the story of how the film came together:
The story begins one year ago in the spring of 2012. American Born, Berlin-based artist Addison Karl, member of the internationally renowned muralist duo called JBAK, returned to Phoenix to visit family, and above all, work. Prior to his arrival Addison contacted anyone he could to identify a willing building owner and customer to allow him to paint his Phoenix mural. As per usual, Karl didn’t want just any wall, he wanted to do something bold, something big, he wanted to paint a landmark mural in his hometown Phoenix.
Through word of mouth Karl was paired with local building owner Chris Nieto, who, fully aware of Karl’s talent, excitedly gave him a wall on his downtown Phoenix hotspot and commissioned the work.
Nieto and Karl became fast friends; the mural, entirely out of spray-paint, was completed after a week of Karl frantically working to cover his 25 foot by 50 foot canvas. The end result, the Francesca D. mural was added to the fabric of the city’s core, on a heavily trafficked building less than 150 feet from the Phoenix Art Museum.
Prior to leaving the states to return to his home in Berlin, Karl painted two other murals, one in Los Angeles and the other in Chicago.
Over the course of a year Nieto and Karl wrote each other and planned for another project in Phoenix as part of a JBAK tour. JBAK: James Bullough and Addison Karl had never worked in Phoenix together which was very exciting to them all.
In preparation for JBAK’s planned arrival to Phoenix, Nieto contacted anyone he could to identify a high-profile building and location whose owner would finance the work. As time drew near, and with no commitments from the various building owners Nieto identified, James Bullough, reluctantly decided to remain in Berlin and miss the tour as no financing was in place to pay for his travels.
Two days prior to the scheduled leave date, Nieto connected with building owners and Tim O’Neil and Bob Karber, whom recently purchased an office high-rise on a very busy intersection in Downtown Phoenix. O’Neil and Karber, who saw this as a rare opportunity to commission a very special piece of public art, agreed to pay for James to fly to Phoenix, and commissioned JBAK to paint a wall on their building, giving them a 60 foot tall canvas on one of the busiest intersections in central Phoenix.
Realizing the gravity of this potentially significant event with JBAK coming to visit and the now commission in place, Nick Hower and Kory Kapfer, owners of Kitchen Sink Studios, agreed to document the project and contribute his company’s resources to film a documentary. Kitchen Sink team member and award-winning film-maker Brandon Barnard worked tirelessly with his crew, matching JBAK’s every move to capture the project.
Nieto and Karl’s grandmother, both Phoenicians, were selected by JBAK and the building owners as subjects for the mural to capture two different generations of people from Phoenix.
JBAK (James Bullough & Addison Karl) —The artists
Tim O’Neil & Bob Karber — Building owners and commissioners of the work
Addison’s Grandmother — Inspiration for and subject in the mural
Chris Nieto — Friend to the artists and subject in the mural
KITCHEN SINK STUDIOS — Producers of the film, artists and patrons of the arts
Brandon Barnard — Film-maker and patron of the arts
The film debut at a showing on June 5 at FilmBar in downtown Phoenix. It can be viewed on the Kitchen Sink Studios Vimeo page at this link. We hope you enjoy it!