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'Passing on knowledge': How Gamma Gallery’s mural art pays tribute to the women in his life

Renowned street artist says mural in Longmont is about connecting the family though longstanding tradition
Posted: 12:12 PM, Mar 28, 2024
Updated: 2024-03-31 22:21:38-04
gamma gallery mural in longmont_wendy hempen photography.jpeg

LONGMONT, Colo. — It’s been a few years — nearly half a decade, to be exact — since Gamma Gallery had a concept swirling in his mind that he spray painted against the concrete on a wall adjacent to the Cheba Hut restaurant on Main St. in Longmont.

“I was waiting for the right opportunity, for showing the lineage of a family and, specifically women braiding each other's hair,” he said, as he explained how the concept behind one his most significant murals to date came about.

The renowned street artist, a native of Longmont, couldn’t recall when he started work on the mural, but looking through social media posts on his Instagram page, it appears the art work has been up there since at least late spring of 2019.

“The mural, literally, is a mural of four women in my family. I’m directly related to all four of them,” he said. “It’s my grandmother, my mother, my sister and my niece, and they’re all braiding each other’s hair. It’s meant to represent generations of women.”

Though the mural has no official title (Gamma figures the art should stand on its own), the one descriptor that people have used the most when talking about it is “Four Generations.”

Originally, he said, the mural was only supposed to be up for about a month or two (after all, every wall is a canvas and there’s always new art to create). But the more he talked to people and the more feedback he got about how much the mural spoke to the community, the more he grew to care for it.

“Sadly, my grandmother passed away a year ago, so now it’s more important,” he said. “You can’t paint over it.”

gamma gallery mural in longmont_wendy hempen photography.jpeg

Gamma said that since its creation, the meaning behind the mural has taken on a new life, thanks to people who’ve seen “things in it that I probably never would have seen.”

“(The mural represents) just… passing on knowledge,” Gamma explained. “It's more (about) them just spending time with each other, teaching, but in like, you know… in this natural scenario, combing, brushing each other's hair. Just connecting the family through a tradition and, you know, care. It’s important.”

It’s this attention to detail and to the message that he wants to put out there in the community that Gamma has, in a way, taken a step back over the past few years, going from doing a mural a week to now doing just three in a year.

For those wanting to look deeper into his art, Gamma said there are some secrets this particular mural holds.

“The one thing that no one has figured out is the pattern of the mural,” Gamma said. “It’s nothing too crazy, nothing too deep, but when you figure it out, it’s very obvious.”

The only clue he would give us about the pattern found within the mural was that it had to do with the concept of "time."

Considering the start of the coronavirus pandemic four years ago derailed so many opportunities for the street artist, Gamma said he’s now focusing on getting back to basics in order to send a message by doing away with generic murals, as he called them.

He’s eyeing the potential opening of a gallery in his native Longmont and is also working on an outdoor street gallery somewhere in downtown Denver where more of his famous murals have been showcased.

As for the disruption of AI or computer programming in street art? Gamma said his art uses “no grid, no projector, no doodle grid, no AI."

“In general, if you can’t do it freehand, then you’re not doing a mural, you’re not doing street art. You’re not an artist. You’re tracing… and anybody that wants to challenge me, feel free.”

‘Passing on knowledge’: Gamma Gallery on honoring women in his life through art

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