WATCH: Street Artist MOMO Discusses His Two New Philadelphia Murals

One of the works makes history as the tallest in Mural Arts' 30-year history.

It finished without much fanfare, which is funny, because street artist MOMO‘s new mural on the north-facing wall of the Sonesta Hotel is the tallest in Mural Arts’ history (more on that below). The New Orleans-based artist was in town as part of Mural Arts Program‘s Open Source project, an ambitious initiative that welcomed top-tier artists from around the globe to contribute a range of public art works to Philly’s growing street-art scene. MOMO left behind not one but two murals that incorporate his love for combining practical geometry with art-making. He shares his experience in a new video Mural Arts released today (above). It gets its world-wide debut right here on Ticket.

MOMO mural at Frankford and Berks. | Photo by Steve Weinik

MOMO mural at Frankford and Berks. | Photo by Steve Weinik

The first mural was done in collaboration with local high school students who learned to utilize techniques long used by carpenters and craftspeople to make a really cool abstract mural at Frankford Avenue and Berks Street in Fishtown. As you’ll see in the video, part of the processed used to put it together is reminiscent of using one of those protractors in geometry class. “The inspiration to put practical geometry to use in wall-painting is a five-year investigation I’ve been looking at,” Momo explains in the video. “It’s a skill set that’s sort of lost, but I think I use some of these things … in mural-painting, but the kids might investigate it further and turn up new combinations.”

MOMO mural on the Sonesta Hotel | Photo by Steve Weinik

MOMO mural on the Sonesta Hotel | Photo by Steve Weinik

Obviously, no kids were allowed on the platform as MOMO and his team installed his second mural on the Sonesta Hotel, which reaches 220 feet into the sky. It towers over traffic and passersby on Market between 18th and 19th streets, where you may almost miss it if you don’t take the advice of Mural Arts placards on the street telling pedestrians to “Look Up.” Actually, the best view is from across the street, in front of the Starbucks on the corner of Market and 18th. Momo doesn’t talk much about this mural in the video, but the vibrant, reflective work kind of speaks for itself. It’s damn gorgeous, and maybe the best thing to come out of Open Source. Judge for yourself by printing out the map below and taking a day to check out all the works — many of which are only here for a limited time. Other personal favorites include Nigerian-born artist Odili Donald Odita‘s stunning piece on the Brandywine Workshop and Archives, and French muralist JR‘s massive photographic work on the Graham Building. More on Open Source and all its projects can be found here.


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