Verizon’s “A Call for Kindness” is a campaign intended to “dial up kindness across the country.” Murals in metros around the U.S. are part of that effort, with Charlotte’s residing on The Mount in Camp North End. Garrison Gist, whose work is infused with the pop culture iconography and flair of the ’90s, is behind our city’s piece of the national movement. Prior to this project, you may have seen him painting around town, in uptown’s Victoria Yards, Wooden Robot Brewery in South End, and Bank of America Stadium.
Jon Leonardo, a painter affiliated with Verizon’s campaign, reached out to Gist via Instagram to recruit him. This mural was an atypical challenge for Gist, as a wall had to be found after the art was already planned. “With that came some obstacles, because the composition would change with the different potential walls, due to size and things like that,” Gist says. “Most of my [designs] started as an idea, then I’d pull references to help create rough mock-ups of what I wanted to do. There were about six different mural sketches before we landed on the Camp North End location, so by then, I was able to just send over everything and let them choose.”
Gist’s trademark bold hues add a certain power and vibrancy to these clasped hands, and he also added a cross-cultural touch: Alongside “Be Kind” are the Japanese kanji characters for “kindness.”
“The inspiration to blend the English text with the Japanese kanji actually started with the kanji,” Gist says. “I had found the symbol for kindness and had a preset kanji font on my iPad, so then I found a font that was close to the ruggedness of the symbol, and flowed as somewhat of an ink-on-scroll vibe—and [then I] tweaked it just enough to make sure it matched up nicely.”« back