Photos and story by Chris Crymes
From artist DPhillGood inviting families to his make-your-own-art painting stations to Lupita’s food truck to street artists “tagging” walls with freehand art, the streetside corner at 407 N. Spring Ave was recently turned from parking lot to arthouse with the Vertically Inclined Street Art Festival.
The festival as a whole was quite the collaborative effort.
“Everyone did their part and made this a collective to the cause. I’m so proud to show the community this world,” said Gemini, artist and founder of Vertically Inclined.
The founder of the event wasn’t the only one excited about the festival. Artists involved were eager to share their love for the event.
“Creativity was all around us and the energy was insane! Loved every bit of it from the street artists, the vendors, the music, everything. The community really came out and enjoyed themselves and that’s what we wanted,” said DPhillGood, local artist at Vertically Inclined.
According to Gemini, the festival spawned from a previous get together he had in the same space for a friend’s birthday. When out looking for places to create his street art on a rainy day, he came across the parking lot behind Rudy’s Barber Shop in Downtown Tyler and he instantly fell in love.
“When we got the day to start the pieces, he (Rudy) decided he wanted to have a whole thing out of it,” Gemini said. “We had a taco truck, it was his birthday, invited some people out, the vibe was amazing, and the pieces that went up that day were awesome.”
From there, he had the idea to do the same thing, only bigger. After that, Gemini and his crew started surveying the space and making phone calls.
“Once we had the artists on board, things just started falling into place,” Gemini said.
After the artists became involved, Gemini and company invited local businesses to take part. Those seen on site on March 20 included 20 artists, Café 1948, Lupita’s food truck, a bounce house, DPhillGood’s family painting station, and a number of East Texas local vendors selling apparel and jewelry. Another crowd favorite was the appearance of the Unicos Car Club’s custom lowriders.
“That was one aspect I was really looking forward to and I’m so glad they showed up,” Gemini said. “Like street art, that’s just another culture a lot of people haven’t been exposed to. This way they can be a part of this culture, not just look at it but engage with it and embrace it.”
After the success of Vertically Inclined, Gemini is looking to the future for more, even bigger street art events for the East Texas art community.
“Engaging in this art, for me, is a sense of empowerment. The whole culture has this unique thing about it,” he said. “Something about how anyone can drive around and see your art, so any messages you have to say or any voice you choose to give the community, you can know it’s going to be noticed, and I’m ready to keep this energy going.”