CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston is a city awash with public art pieces, though some may be more obvious than others. Downtown is dotted with custom-designed bicycle racks. Statues can be found in gardens and in front of buildings around the city. Murals cover the walls of some buildings throughout the city formerly overlooked by passersby.
Two new murals have been added to Charleston’s ever increasing collection of public art.
One spans the sides and front of the former Westside Outlet Center, a three-storefront building at the corner of West Washington and Stockton streets. Andy King, a Charleston resident, used spray paint to adorn the building with mountains, the New River Gorge Bridge and the Capitol dome.
“That’s pretty much the only thing I know how to use. I’m better with spray paint than I am with a pencil,” King said of his chosen medium.
But that medium has come at a price. King said he has been arrested a few times for graffiti, the last time in 2011. That’s when he decided to stop painting illegally.
“I just felt it was kind of like a waste of paint. I’d rather go somewhere and use my paint to do something that might [still] be there,” King said.
King, 38, grew up on the West Side and had thought many times throughout the last decade that something creative should be done with the building.
“I like seeing the West Side look nice instead of rundown and dilapidated buildings,” he said.
King, who was critical of “throwing” mural projects “to these artists who paint on canvases,” wants to see a legal wall for graffiti…