One of the two major highlights of 2018 was traveling to The Middle East to create interior murals for two different Black Tap restaurants in two different Gulf countries. I have never been further east of Turkey and that was a hop, skip and a jump from the Greek Isles on a boat. This time it was a twelve-hour, non-stop flight to Kuwait City with a final destination at 360 Mall.
First on the list was the third Kuwait City Black Tap under construction inside the 360 Mall. It is called 360 Mall because it is basically one gigantic circle. This Black Tap is located on the mezzanine level close to the escalator inside the main entrance at Gate 1.
Looking up from ground level, the lush green plant life covers the mall walls and beyond the vegetation one can see the contrasting warm colored background with the “Tru York” imagery filling up the very large wall that parallels the terrace. A winding stair case leads up to the Black Tap neon entrance sign. When I was painting this entrance wall into the restaurant I thought about the Propylaea, the ancient gateway to the Parthenon on top of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The entrance mural combines the iconic blue striped water towers that can be seen across the desert highway in the distance outside of Gate 1. Next is the Empire State Building and the downtown Kuwait City tower on the right. This mural leads into the main room. The bar is next to the 'boom box' booth table seating inside the round circles that represent radio speakers. Above that is the non-objective Grafstraction filled with a myriad of my 'skittled schemed' palette. Beyond the main room is what I call “the monster wall”. This huge wall is almost as wide as Nanny's Kitchen wall in Wynwood, Miami (2016). The dimensions of this colossal wall is 12’H x 49’W (feet) and was was the first wall I targeted for completion. The background alone took 17 hours to finish and more time touching up or adding to.. This beast of a wall, although a worthy opponent, was no match for The Glartiator. When this wall beast was subdued, I began to fill in the 7 images that I had outlined prior to the background design. I chose 7 images keeping in mind the Seven Heavens of Islam. Staying with 80's and 90's old school theme, the multiple imagery, I incorporated a boom box, a Biggie, B Boys (Jamel Shabazz), bus, Table Series Logo, break dancer and subway train. If you notice the Table Series Logo, the central male figure in the family seated at the table is not holding a beer bottle in his hand. The reason is because Kuwait is a 'dry country' and that means there is absolutely no alcohol allowed, it is against the law. The bus is the #529 symbolizing the very first Black Tap in Soho located at 529 Broome Street in Manhattan (2015). The BTNYC #529 to 360 Mall only goes one way and that's my way.
If you are familiar with my work ethics, you know that I was busy painting long hours. I worked