September 12, 2022

Local artists showcase work on former mall


Local artists Kwazar Martin and Nick Abstract - WFYI's Taylor Bennett

Local artists Kwazar Martin and Nick Abstract

WFYI's Taylor Bennett

Two local artists recently completed murals as part of an art installation series as the former Lafayette Square Mall transforms into the mixed-use landmark destination called Windows to the World.  WFYI’s Taylor Bennett spoke with Kwazar Martin and Nick Abstract, who designed and created their respective murals.

WFYI's Taylor Bennett: When you heard about the former mall being transformed into this window of the world, Kwazar  what did that mean to you? 

Kwazar Martin: Just on the ideas that they were given is like a broader horizon to the area, you know, making it more people friendly for everybody versus what it has been over the years. So their plan is pretty dope. So that's what it kind of meant to me. Just a more diverse group of people coming in and out of there shopping.

Bennett: What do you think Nick? Was it the same kind of idea you had when you heard this? This is the kind of the idea, the theme?

Nick Abstract: Yeah, similar to what Kwazar was saying. Early in the project brief, they were like, you know, hey, this is a extremely diverse area of Indianapolis. I can't remember the exact statistics, but it was like, this is one of the areas where there's the most diverse people around this square section of mileage. And I thought that was cool, too. But I also like my artwork to apply to all different types of people and be accessible to all different types of people. So you know, regardless of your background, your religion or what have you, my I hope my art is accessible. And so window to the world world, to me really embodied a sense of openness and, like, well open, welcoming people from all different walks of life. I thought that was cool, so I chose kind of a wide array of colors to kind of complement that,

Bennett: What will visitors or whoever might be going by actually see? Can you explain to us for the listening audience, what that might look like?

Abstract: Well, if you're driving along Lafayette Road, and you look kind of towards the property, you're gonna see, you know, the, the really large W logo for window to the world.  It's kind of painted front and center within the mural. And the mural is basically exploding from within the logo. So, I wanted  these like sharp shapes to extend out beyond the building and sort of connect these large, huge buildings that the mall used to be, because it is a huge place. So with these murals, they were kind of hoping, you know, these are going to be, I guess, landmarks, you could say, that can identify, hey, we're over by, you know, this big geometric mural or, okay, we're over by the mural of the world that's Kwazar. So it provides a sense of place. And I think that's really important in murals, that it's not just you park your car and walk into a mall, you're parking next to a destination. So I think that's super important.

Bennett: I can paint by numbers.

Martin: Almost the same thing. 

Bennett: What do you hope that the public takes from this when they see your work? What do you want them to think or feel about it?

Martin: For me, it's, it's bigger than me.  I want the reaction to the work to bring more work, not just to me, but to everybody, you know, showing that you know, art really the colors, and it really controls the space. Like I go to certain cities and there's mural work everywhere. And it's like the vibrancy of the area. They have little coffee shops around and people are sitting outside and there's artwork around them. So I'm hoping the city get and I feel the city's moving in that direction. Very fast, to be honest. So I want freedom for artists like not nothing crazy, but kind of let us go and you will you'll get a very nice outcome.

Bennett: Where can we see other artworks that you have?

Martin: I mean, he's everywhere. He's everywhere.

Abstract: I would say the same about you Kwazar. You've  been crushing it man. Just drive around the city and keep a curious eye. 

Martin: Best way to probably find is probably through the Instagrams to get location of where they are.

Bennett: Where can we find you on Instagram?

Abstract: Yeah, just @Nick Abstract.

Martin: Mine's Kwazar Martin.

Bennett: Thank you both for joining us.

Abstract/Martin: Thank you. Appreciate that.

Contact WFYI Morning Edition newscaster and reporter Taylor Bennett at tbennett@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @TaylorB2213.

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