Love paints the town

Young artist makes her mark with inspiring illustrations
MURAL – from left: Peacemakers Inc. founder Shawn Hunter, artist Kamila, along with her parents Sister Naasira and Brother Love with City Councilman John Garland at the unveiling of the 11th St. neighborhood mural on the corner facing Moorman Rd.

A Tribune Exclusive

A mural by 23-year-old artist Kamila Love was unveiled Sunday, Sept. 17 at 11th Street and Moorman, Rd in northwest. The huge work-of-art, measuring 33’ x 14’ was done at the request of Garland Properties, headed by City Councilman John Garland and The Peacemakers Inc. an organization focused on community safety revitalization.

Kamila referres to the project as Phase 1 of an effort by these two organizations, for it is just a hint of the positive things still to come to the NW community. The young artist, who is quite a visionary in her own right, was asked to create a drawing that captured how she saw the community and her vision of its future.

The mural is full of vibrant colors and optimistic representations that many people in that area identified with. During the 6 weeks it took to create the painting, stories of this community’s past were revealed from which new friendships were made. Furthermore, Kamila saw firsthand that there truly was hope for the community that seemed to be forgotten by the local powers that be.

“The painting reflects the pain of the area’s inhabitants as they expressed anguish for lives lost due to senseless violence,” she says. But even more encouragingly she often heard the community’s dreams for the future.

The 11th St. neighborhood mural on the corner facing Moorman Rd.

This project took 24 days with a total of 145.75 hours, with Kamila starting early in the morning and sometimes working till there was no more light. The only thing that would stop her, was naturally the rainy weather, which happened the last week of the project. Having a deadline, it required her to call on her family for help as the project neared completion, making this a true “Love” affair.

Kamila has been doing art all her life, always encouraged by her family and people in the community who saw her talents. The 11th Street project was not her first mural but was definitely the largest.

Her work with projects of this type started about a year ago by simply showing her art to Tee Reynolds, former manager of West End Leap Market. He in turn showed her work to George Clements owner of Georges’ Flowers, who asked her if she would be interested in painting some garage doors at the back of his old florist shop on Luck Ave downtown. She was a little intimidated by the prospect, yet she agreed with the assurance that there was no rush and if it did not turn out they would just paint over it.

As a graphic artist mostly working with computers, she had never painted anything. She drew all her art freehand but took the images to the next level, (coloring, etc) using Photoshop. The rest is history.

Kamila painted 6 garage doors using 6 different artistic styles. The murals have become quite a conversation piece and many admirers take pictures. The project took almost a year, due to various weather conditions and served as training–giving her confidence for things yet to come.

Kamila paints the LEAP mobile food truck.

Her next project was the LEAP mobile food truck, which is taken out weekly to visit various communities Tuesday-Thursday to bring fresh produce to those who cannot always get to the store or to the Farmers Markets.

The project was quietly worked on during the same time as the 11th St mural. Kamila could only work on it on certain days. It was also another new experience with a new medium, painting a vehicle. Done in a totally different style than her previous works of art. Total time commitment 16 days, (ie. 75.5 hours).

Throughout the time Kamila has spent engaging in artistic enhancement projects about town, she has developed a great fondness for the area–a fondness she expresses through her amazing skills and vision.