A bright, freshly minted, attractive mural that promises to pump excitement into the somewhat downtrodden Poe Homes Apartment buildings in Baltimore has transformed the neighborhood basketball court.
The project is the work of Baltimore artist Wendell “Supreme” Shannon, whose art career was inspired by the legendary Charm City artist, Larry Poncho Brown.
Shannon says he and another artist, Ezekiel Givens, came up with the idea for the colorful mural from Renaissance Day Experiences.
“We definitely felt that we needed to help some of the underserved communities. So we started working with Renaissance Day Experience to renovate several parks, recreation centers, schools, and courtyards to bring a positive light throughout the city,” Shannon said.
During the water crisis at the Poe Homes, Shannon says he came across a video that revealed the condition of the basketball court.
“At the time, I wasn’t able to do much as far as a donation, but I knew I had a skill set that would leave an impression on those kids,” Shannon said. “I contacted the Poe Homes, and we did crowdfunding, and more than 30 Baltimore businesses donated or contributed services toward the efforts.”
Volunteers from Baltimore were joined by people from as far away as Atlanta, Charlotte, and New York and set to work. The result is a geometric abstract painting that includes several vibrant colors, which Shannon says is intended to promote positivity, energy and optimism.
“I’m ecstatic. The process brought so many people together, and the kids are excited,” Shannon said. “While we were doing the mural, the kids would run home from school to see the project, and it was so much joy seeing the smiles on their faces.”
Born in New York, Shannon says he is an intuitive artist. He further says that his work reflects his dedication, precision, focus and the determination to re-introduce a unique brand of creativity to the forefront of his era.
Shannon has also had to overcome hardship and illness. While a student at Morgan State University, he was diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Dermatomyositis. His illnesses have greatly affected the use of his hands, but it didn’t prevent him from plying his craft.
“I tried to stay focused with optimism,” Shannon said. “Art is a form of therapy for myself. It helps me to relax and take care of myself.”
As he wrapped up the mural project, Shannon says an official grand opening is scheduled for Sunday, September 29, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
He is also looking forward to hosting a solo exhibition at the Baltimore Assembly Room on December 4, 2019.
“I will continue to focus on the community and look to do more projects,” Shannon said. “We hope that other Baltimore artists will have opportunities to showcase their work in a way that promotes positivity.”
To view or purchase paintings by Wendell Shannon, visit: www.solelysupreme.com.