Old-school murals make comeback

April 15, 2011
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Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira
The mural at the intersection of South and Boynton streets, currently advertising the TV show “Superjail!”

JP SOUTH— Every few weeks, a wall at South and Boynton streets gets a make-over as part of an old-school advertising campaign: hand-painted murals.

Every month or two, artists hired by New York-based Critical Massive take a couple of days to paint a new mural. Currently, it’s sporting a purple-tuxedo-and-top-hat-wearing jail warden riding a winged centaur with pink eyes—characters from cable channel Adult Swim’s “Superjail!”, known for its surrealist, colorful imagery.

“It’s a promotional wall,” Ray Fernandez, one of the co-owners of the building, told the Gazette last week. Fernandez Spa & Liquors and South Street Laundromat are both located in the 128 South St. building.

“It’s not that common, but it’s coming back,” Noah Shapiro, from Critical Massive, told the Gazette. “We use different artists, but we try to use local artists as much as possible.”

The artist responsible for the current image is from Providence, R.I., Shapiro said. He did not identify any local artists.

Most of this year’s murals have been for Adult Swim, which provides the original image. That image is then shown to the building owners for final approval before being painted outside.

Critical Massive has been responsible for murals on the site since last year, Shapiro told the Gazette. It is one of a few sites in Boston, he said, adding that he could not discuss their locations.

Adult Swim is the cable channel responsible for the electronics-based guerilla ad campaign that caused a terrorist scare in Boston in January 2007, though Critical Massive was not responsible for that campaign. It airs mature-oriented animation between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

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