“Bloom”, a mural by artist Carl Medley and Charles Rasputin, can be found in Norfolk’s NEON District at the intersection of Boush St. and W Olney Rd. The creative duo goes by the name “FangGang”, which was inspired by Carl’s initial design of “Bloom”, along with the pair’s shared aesthetic for darker, stylized imagery, which led them to this catchy and quite fitting name! The team is elated to be involved in the expanding art scene in Norfolk, especially the developing public murals that are popping up all over the NEON District.
said Rasputin, when asked about the recent push in public arts in Norfolk. Read below for a few quick questions with Carl Medley and Charles Rasputin, and be sure to check out at “Bloom” during the 2017 NEON Festival!
What was the inspiration behind this piece?
Medley: “The inspiration behind the piece was to create something that felt both delicate and intimidating. This mural is meant to be a gatekeeper of sorts for the NEON, in that it is showing is beauty in all of its details while not being afraid to bear its teeth and protect its integrity and creativity. Plus my partner Charles Rasputin projected video into the teeth at night so it took on a whole new life.”
Rasputin: “Carl Medley and I wanted to capture something that was both stylish, feminine and yet exuded strength to the viewer. His design, the combination of the pink photo, realistic roses, and the knockout graphic of the vampire teeth, achieved both something dark and edgy and something palatable to our citizens who aren’t enamored with a dark aesthetic. It also summed up our style and sense of humor succinctly. The teeth also provided a cool space for us to use it as a projection map, which allowed the mural come alive for NEON Festival that year. It was a perfect piece to launch our collaborative art effort FangGang which is constantly growing and shifting into a deeper multimedia concept, but always rooted in activating traditional painting and mural work with new media and projection.”
How did you get started with murals?
Medley: “This was the first mural I did, and it really came about from just putting myself out there. Murals are fun because the large scale is intimidating but exciting and you get to meet a lot of people while you're doing them. Plus, they're free to the public which is cool.”
Rasputin: “Murals have always possessed a place making ability to me in a way that not all other public art can manifest. From traditional graffiti to the more widely and publicly accepted phenomenon of street art, someone with vision can transform a neglected space into something that draws people into forgotten places. "Bloom" with was my first large scale mural, but I had been painting and making work for sale and creating conceptual art since about 2005. Carl and I both knew we could execute the concept to spec with our talent and resources so we just dove in with the help of some of our family and art friends. The mural was done in about 3 days, which was a beautiful turnaround time for that scale.”
What is your favorite thing about Norfolk, or where is your favorite place to be in Norfolk?
Medley: “It's hard to pick a favorite... We do love taking our dog to Ghent Dog Park with some coffee from Café Stella and maybe walking around Colley Ave. Then picking up Zeke’s afterwards. We also live in Ocean View so a sunset on the beach is great at the end of the day.”
Rasputin: “I love Norfolk's proximity to the river. As I get older I find myself less attracted to the brilliant nightlife, art happenings and dance parties that consumed my first 10 years in the city and find myself drawn into the natural places and spaces that have always existed just outside the hustle and bustle of the urban centers. Right now the Hermitage Museum and Gardens is one of those special places for me where one can appreciate nature in conjunction with art, and still see a party or celebration pop up and activate the environment. Seeing the riverfront and its quiet beauty become filled with people, art and creative celebration during their exhibitions or The Art of Burning Man has been pretty close to real world magic for me. Where art and environment connect are always my favorite places and spaces.”