Graffiti will soon be donning the side of buildings in and around Abilene this month.
Some will happen overnight as the inspiration to paint often occurs in the wee hours of the morning.
But don’t look for building owners to quickly whitewash the designs.
Renowned Kansas City graffiti artist Whitney Kerr III is behind the art.
The artist responsible for the “Greetings from Kansas City” and “Kansas City’s Superman” graffiti murals has already completed two at the Cedar House greenhouse in rural Abilene.
Plans are for three more in Abilene, with a similar greetings mural to be painted on the Reflector-Chronicle building overlooking Little Ike Park. He also plans on a mural at Abilene Printing and Last Chance Graphics.
Kerr gets his inspirations for the murals through photographs. The Cedar House mural came from pictures taken by Lyndsey Buechman through 4-H. Kerr took many photographs throughout Abilene last week for inspirations for his designs.
Kerr’s interest in graffiti art started on his drives to church on Sunday in Kansas City along Interstate 35.
“It was on buildings, rooftops, trains. It was everywhere,” he said.
He practiced on the walls of his parents’ garage.
“That was a positive outlet,” he said.
He whitewashed the walls before going to college. He earned a degree in painting at the Memphis College of Art.
Kerr admits that some of his work wasn’t commissioned.
He said he’s painted thousands of graffiti artworks and about 40 murals.
He has even painted murals in Israel and Egypt. The painting in Israel was at a nursing school, showing three nurses and a baby.
He worked while on the back of a camel in Cairo, Egypt, on a wall that separates tourists from the pyramids.
“I really shouldn’t have done that,” he admitted.
There was other graffiti on that wall at the time, he said. He found a spot he wanted to fill with his own work.
Often Kerr works at night under lights.
“I work both. Sometimes I will end up getting in a creative groove at night and just won’t stop working until I am super tired,” he said.
Patti O’Malley was looking for a mural to overlook Cedar House’s Cabin for about a year. For the past six years at 6 p.m. every Monday, women who are fighting addiction or female family members who are struggling with addiction in their families can attend cabin meetings.
“So this,” O’Malley said, referring to the mural, “is actually speaking to the women who join us in the recovery group.
“We are really proud to get Whitney into Abilene. This project is to inspire the women.”
O’Malley traveled to New York in search of a graffiti artist in December.
She ran into Gus Hanger,who co-founded “The Hanger” art gallery in Kansas City, who referred her to Kerr.
“He said, if you want a graffiti artist, call Whitney Kerr III,” O’Malley said. “I started looking at his work in Westport in Kansas City and was amazed. He graciously accepted.”
Kerr’s work in Abilene is being funded by the Cedar House, the Community Foundation of Dickinson County and the Arts Council of Dickinson County.
Arts Council Director Samantha Geisinger said a gallery of Kerr’s work will be on display later this month with a reception for the artist.
His final project plan is a mural on the side of Last Chance Graphics.
“He will give a class to children, and the children in the class will help him put the mural up,” she said.
Abilene High School students Lewis Trotter and Therman Geisinger are documenting the painting with video.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.