By Peg McRoy Glover
A new genre of murals collectively called “The Spot” has gone up in Brownsburg on the east and west sides of the building owned by Pete Brown that houses his company ASH Interactive.
Unlike many of the murals around the county that represent local history, patriotism, school mascots, Indianapolis 500 or hometown heroes, these murals are the result of the artistic evolution of graffiti, street art and murals.
Brown grew up on the northeast side of Detroit surrounded by graffiti.
“There is a lot of debate about what exactly is the difference between graffiti, street art and murals,” said Brown. “The graffiti art that I knew growing up was vandalism, or at least perceived as vandalism. Then graffiti expanded into street art where it became a little more artistic and meaningful. Then murals, of course, are fully preplanned.”
Brown had a clear vision of what he wanted painted on the sides of his building. At the onset of his search for a building to buy, one of his non-negotiables was that it had to have big blank walls outside. His vision was to have enough “wall pallet” to paint big-scale contemporary artwork for the public to easily enjoy.
“I wanted this to be contemporary, geometric and colorful,” said Brown.
Once he had the building, he sought collaboration from the Hendricks County Arts Council (HCAC) and the Hendricks County Community Foundation (HCCF) to bring his vision to fruition.
Anne Johansson, HCAC president and owner of the Children’s Ballet, reached out to Brown during the pandemic when the company’s planned live performance of “The Nutcracker” needed to go virtual.
ASH Interactive had just launched its Midwest Virtual Experience and was live streaming theater performances and other events.
“The timing was perfect for us to meet because the arts council was relaunching the mural society,” said Johansson. “And we had a matching grant from the HCCF for community art, specifically for murals.”
With the fundraising in place, Brown began to hand pick the artists.
“I had a pretty deep Rolodex of artists I could pull from,” said Brown. “Previously, I had gotten a creative renewal grant from the Arts Council of Indianapolis where I traveled around the Midwest doing photography and videography for graffiti and street artists.”
From this reservoir of talent, Brown reached out to four artists to paint his building, all who are recognized nationally and one internationally for their artwork.
Known for airbrushing and aerosol art, Kevin “Scraps” Burdick from Flint, Mich., created the mural on the west side of the building.
Three artists painted the east side of the building. Dan “Cents” Thompson from Indianapolis discovered graffiti in 1997, and that art form and culture became his life-long fascination. Nick “Abstract” Smith from Whitestown is a colorblind contemporary artist who specializes in geometric abstraction and is internationally known. Zack “ZMed” Medler from Lafayette specializes in Midwest street art and fine art multiples — reproduction of an art piece by the artist who created it.
“The Spot” name of this collective comes from the slang term graffiti artists use to refer to the place they want to paint.
To see “The Spot” in person, ASH Interactive is located at 516 W. Main St., Brownsburg behind Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Make sure to check out the art in the next few months because Brown plans to bring in other artists to paint new murals every two years.
To view their work online and to learn more about “The Spot” in Brownsburg visit ash-interactive.com/the-spot or follow the QR code to watch a video documenting the creation of “The Spot.”