New Houston Asiatown mural led by Alief artist was painted with help from over 200 volunteers - jobs fights tigma
Connect with us

New Houston Asiatown mural led by Alief artist was painted with help from over 200 volunteers


New Houston Asiatown mural led by Alief artist was painted with help from over 200 volunteers

When Thomas Tran was planning his design for the Asiatown Community Mural, he wanted to make sure that everyone in the neighborhood could see their culture on the giant wall across from the H-Mart on Bellaire. Growing up in Alief – one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the United States’ most diverse city – he had no shortage of reference points from which to draw.

There is a woman in a hijab sipping boba tea next to a woman in a traditional Filipina dress, and a kid shoving an egg roll into the mouth of the mythological Japanese tengu. Farther down the wall, Sun Wukong, the Chinese trickster god, cackles over a platter of roasted pig, while Garuda, a Hindu demigod, looks on stoically.

“Maybe we’re just an advanced society in Alief,” Tran, 25, joked.

The Asiatown Community Mural completed Sunday was painted with over five days last week with help from other artists, students and community members as part of a team of over 200 volunteers who learned about the project mostly through Instagram or word of mouth.

For Tran, bringing the community into his process is what makes murals worth doing. As a student at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, he was asked to do a mural for a fashion week exhibition at the college and learned that large-scale projects are simply more fun with friends.

“I wanted to share that experience with people,” Tran said. “Art is a lonely gig, and this is the one time where you can basically have a party and do art.”

Every day at 4 pm, Tran would pull up in a minivan full of paint supplies and set up two tents on a grassy median in the Sterling Plaza parking lot until midnight. The volunteers would come trickling in soon after, and he’d direct them to a paint-by-numbers style banner which would instruct them which colors went in which places.

Once the volunteers decided which part of the mural they wanted to paint, Tran would send them on their way with a brush and red Solo cup with their desired paint color, encouraging them to stay hydrated and take a break if the searing Houston heat grew too intense.

Older, more experienced painters climbed scaffolding to paint the uppermost portion of the two-story mural, while young children, like 7-year-old Phoenix Le, painted sections near the bottom. Each volunteer who contributed their time signed their name near the bottom of the wall at the center of the mural.

“He may not understand it now, but he’ll be able to come back later and say that he contributed to this and it’s a part of the whole city,” said Phoenix’s mother, Vy Le.

Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Art

To Top