The thing about street art is that even though the artist starts with an initial vision and a certain aesthetic, the work is constantly changing after they walk away. It gets weathered by elements, tagged by other graffiti artists, and recontextualized by ever-shifting neighborhood dynamics. It’s never done. Every second it’s up, it has the potential to evolve.
Street artist Awe2 is inspired by that unpredictable nature. By the creative chaos of it all. His art is a story that he starts to tell before a million other factors (and lives) come into play, spinning the narrative in a new direction.
“One of my favorite things is to paint a train, and then watch it as it goes through the country over a decade,” he says. “I watch how it ages, and where people find it. It’s just an amazing story that your art tells.”
The Milwaukee born painter, now based in Atlanta, caught the graffiti bug early. It was dangerous and therefore thrilling. It stoked a creative fire in him. He started on the scene ten years ago and that passion has only grown ever since. He’s become known for putting his signature on freight trains and he’s in a crew, TCI, that paints trains all over the country. They push each other and the artistic envelope.
Awe2 finds inspiration in that community, and in the community of his adopted city.
“I’ve lived all over the country,” he says. “But Atlanta is by far the most interesting city I’ve ever lived in.”
So the street artist was excited when the app TikTok — a social platform that has quickly become a world leader in building authentic communities of likeminded creators — asked him to design a mural that would both reflect his own journey and act as a love letter to Atlanta.