CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It rained on Charley “Jupiter” Hamilton’s parade Sunday, but friends, family and community members journeyed outside to celebrate the local artist’s work anyway.
The intermittent rain caused slight difficulties for the remaining FestivALL events Sunday, starting with a shower that disrupted the official unveiling and celebration of Hamilton’s work, the West Side Wonder Mural.
A small parade kicked off the celebration. After he completed the parade route, Hamilton took to the podium to discuss the piece.
This 30-foot by 60-foot mural, complete with a bright palette of about seven colors, is based on one of Hamilton’s previous paintings, but with a twist. He said he added public figures like Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and Martin Luther King. Friends and community members make appearances, too.
“I do figurative work. I really could not (not) do figurative work because of my feelings about storytelling — I love storytelling,” he said. “Art should impact and surprise people, and if you have a story to tell, why not tell it?”
The project started in September 2013 with the hopes of being completed by December. But as he started creating the images he couldn’t help but make more and more. Now he expects it to be done by August.
Hamilton said his motto for the project is “they can never tame us.”
“I want to embrace that kind of badness of the West Side without making it criminal,” he said. “If you are untamed, you are also full of possibilities…