The above mural at 16th & Muhammad Ali Louisville, Ky is a work in progress by Victor Sweatt. We got to ask him about some of his works and how the murals came about…

Thanks for taking time out…where you from?

Thanks for having me, I’m an art activist from Louisville, KY’s West End.

When did you start drawing any mentors?

I started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon. No mentor per say but the lines and colors which taught me the art of communication. I’ve always understand, innately, that both create visual images that resonate with the soul crossing the language barrier. Hence, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

How long have you been using aerosol cans?

The Russell Neighborhood Mural is the first time I’ve used aerosol cans.

How did the murals come about?

The Russell Neighborhood murals were funded by a grant from Imagine Greater Image Louisville 2020, The New Direction Housing Center and The Louisville Visual Art Association.

Did you have to get a permit?

Yes. We had to get a city permit to block of the sidewalks. And the buildings owner, graciously, permitted us to paint.

Did you have a sponsorship for the paint?

There was no paint sponsorship. I considered it briefly but decided to focused more on completing the mural and building my own brand versus promoting more sponsors. Also, art supplies where included in the budget.

Do you come up with the ideas for the murals or do you have help?

An online survey was taken then I canvased the neighborhood going door to door asking for input to design the mural. I read through the surveys and implemented what I deemed a positive message for the children. I created two designs to choose from and one was chosen by the community at the Russell Neighborhood Fair.

What message is behind most of your work?

Seeing extraordinary things in everyday moments is the main theme or message behind most of my work. People often say they can tell a lot about me by what I’ve painted. I’ve always found that to be very intriguing but untrue. They’re only going by my pictures they’ve seen and not accounting for the ones they haven’t seen. That’s like looking at one sentence out of a paragraph and saying you understand the paragraph in it’s entirety. I convey what I’m feeling at the time.

What next for you future projects we should know about?

I have a company, WISE (What I See Enterprises)- Mastery of the Arts, that empowers the youth through spoken words, theater, graphic, videos, photography and music. They are invited to learn first hand and hands on the business of the afore mentioned categories. Together we will build a diverse multicultural system of networking to capitalize on their own intellectual property.
I’m also doing a mural between 13th-15th W. Madison soon. It will chronicle the rich history of the Russell Neighborhood.

Favorite books that you’ve read?

Some of my favorite book are “Malcom X on Afro-American History, The destruction of Black civilization by Chancellor Williams, Kill them before they grow: Misdiagnosis of African American boys in American Classrooms by Michael Porter and The Isis Paper by Frances Cress Welsing.”

Last words or shout outs??

My last words are “Empower Self.”

Victor Sweatt – Facebook
Louisville Visual Art – Website
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EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: Victor Sweatt