IT-RA is the collaboration of Kansas City muralists Isaac Tapia and Rodrigo Alvarez.
The duo began working together in the summer of 2017, when they were commissioned to paint two murals at the Richardson Early Learning Center. Since then, the artists have been commissioned to paint over 50 murals in the Kansas City area. Their most notable works are the “Angel of Ours” on Troost Corridor, “Cafe Corazón” at Cafe Corazón in Westport and “Past, present, and you are the future ” at the Ewing Marion Kauffman School. Their diverse body of work is united by vibrant colors, evolving designs and themes that celebrate their communities and honor their identities as artists who migrated to the U.S. at a very young age.
As established muralists from the Kansas City area, we understand the power and potential of public art, and the enormous impact it can have on the local community. When they are done right, murals can become focal points. More than just beautiful backdrops for photos and videos, they become sources of inspiration, pride, growth, dialogue, celebration and empowerment for their community. They are cultural and historical reservoirs for their environment.
We have witnessed this power within our own work. Many of our murals are partnerships with small businesses, and have become emblems of their establishments. Each one of our murals is tailored to the cultural context of its environment and is rich with symbolism that celebrates the unique history, color, flavor and stories of its location. As artists, we seek to do more than just beautify a space; we create a work of art that centers, is informed by, and belongs to its community. Our hope is that our murals are both story-tellers and story-starters; that they become the backdrop for the future dialogue, memories, moments and events of the community.
Our artistic process begins with a cleaning step, where we power wash the painting areas down well. We then prime the walls, typically with white. We then paint over the primed layer, and can then build a foundation for our design and then proceed to spray paint our designs. At the end of the painting process, we go back with brushes for quick finishing details. We usually choose our clear coat covering depending on the wall materials, but we always recommend using a UV/graffiti deterrent finishing coat. We use Montana Gold spray paint and Nova paint for detailing.
(Pre-Process) Community Session: Art and mural workshop
Day 1: Sketching and painting on top bookend
Day 2: Painting top bookend continued
Day 3: Sketching and painting bottom bookend
Day 4: Painting bottom bookend continued
Day 5: Artist makes finishing touches and details
Our goal is to have the community involved throughout the entirety of this process. Ideally, we will host a workshop before the painting process begins where we engage with the community to talk about what a mural can and does represent. We hope to have this workshop in dialogue style to verbally engage with the community’s knowledge and understanding of how art impacts their lives. We will go over the concept of the art installation and explain the concept and designs of the piece. Additionally, community members will be instructed on how the paint and tools are to be used. The design of the mural is also made so that community volunteers can easily engage and paint with the artists and play an equal role in making this art for the community.
We had a couple of events for one of our murals, the community would join us in painting on site (Covid times), for the community members that could not make it we delivered something called “Parachute Paper” that they would then paint and we would adhere to the wall after they finished painting.
Lesson Outline Form
ITRAicons Mural Project
Instructor Name/s: Isaac Tapia and Rodrigo Alvarez
Project Tile: Mural Project
No. of Sessions Required: 15+
Grades / Age Range: 10+
DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM GOALS
Students will have control over some of the images they will portray on the mural. They can come from life experiences or just their own imagination.
Equality and Social Justice will be an important topic to talk about, this past year 2020 has highlighted many social injustices as well as the impact of the pandemic in an everyday household.
Students will be planning out their own Mural according to their own ideas and experiences. They will need to know what materials to use, how to use them and know when to use them. Planning how they will place their design on the wall will be vital to their decision making skills.
We will be creating a mural from scratch, making sure that kids know the entrepreneurship part of the Art industry and its implication in everyday life. We will start with a couple of classes on how to charge, design, prepare and execute their mural. It will take another two sessions to ideate their design. Once we have a finished design we will mock-up the design on to the wall, a process that will take one session. We will begin to sketch on the wall all of our design for approximately three sessions. Last but not least the fun part begins, painting on the wall until finished this process may take up to 7 sessions or more depending on their design.
$250 non refundable Design Fee
$25-$50 x sqft (our square footage pricing ranges based on the level of intricacy, mural installation’s height off the ground ,prep work and travel.
Our community engagement cost is $100 per hour for two instructors plus the cost of materials.
The artistic process begins with a cleaning step, where we power wash the painting areas down well. We then prime the walls, typically with white. We then paint over the primed layer, and can then build a foundation for our design and then proceed to spray paint our designs. At the end of the painting process, we go back with brushes for quick finishing details. We usually choose our clear coat covering depending on the wall materials, but we always recommend using a UV/graffiti deterrent finishing coat. We use Montana Gold spray paint and Nova paint for detailing.
Typically our mural projects rely on weather permitting days. They also depend on the murals size and equipment availability (if lift is required, uneven surface, etc )
A standard ground level mural that is 10’x20′ requires 5 days to execute.
If booked three months ahead of time we are able to work up to a month (30 days) anywhere in the continental U.S. and its territories.