You Just Can’t Beat Olympia Street Art

When it comes to embracing street art, Olympia is of the mind that you go big or go home.  We use it to make political statements.  We use it to commemorate local historical heroes and welcome people to the town.  We use them to celebrate comic book heroes and Star Wars characters.  Don’t even get me started on how many downtown businesses turn their storefronts into murals.  (I swear, just about every word in that sentence could have been hyperlinked to a different mural.)  Most recently graffiti artists have popped up two separate murals along the parking lot wall of our Indian restaurant, Great Cuisine of India, on 4th Avenue.  First came Ganesha:

photo 1-9

Ganesha on the wall of Great Cuisine of India, Olympia, WA, July 2014.

Then, over the course of a few weeks, Kali joined him:


Kali on the wall of Great Cuisine of India, Olympia, WA, July 2014.

Given how popular it is for businesses here to sport street art on their walls, I assumed the restaurant’s owners had commissioned the pieces, which are amazing.  But no, as Niki Whiting of A Witch’s Ashram discovered, the murals just began appearing not long after they had painted over a long-standing palimpsest of random tags and images.  I guess after Ganesha went up, the creator(s) of Kali saw it as a challenge and popped up their art.  I rather love the call-and-response thing our local street artists have going on here, and I hope they add more members of the Hindu pantheon to the wall–there’s lots of white space left!

Where else in America can you have street artists battling it out to create representations of deity?  Olympia is so cool.


3 thoughts on “You Just Can’t Beat Olympia Street Art

  1. Oh, I don’t know about that. I just happened to luck into a super sunny day. I had to take them at weird angles to avoid getting a lot of car in them, too.

    One thing I really loved about my “photo shoot” was that a couple homeless teenagers were hanging out in the parking lot at the time. When they saw me taking the pictures they asked me about who the deities were and what they meant. They’d been hanging out for about an hour there, completely entranced by the bright colors. (They may have been under the influence of one chemical or another.) Then they wanted to pose with the murals! After a little bit of time, they incorporated the stories I told them about Kali and Ganesha and started to re-create them. It was an awful lot of fun watching the kids play things out.

  2. just so you guys know the Kali piece was done by one artist, the Ganesha piece was done by a team of two. not only are they all friends they paid for the paint themselves.

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