“10+21+?” Indy mural prompts us to have a conversation

INDIANAPOLIS – Bruce Armstrong has been portray murals on the billboard on the nook of Central Avenue and thirtieth Road since 2012. The longtime Indianapolis artist, maybe greatest recognized by his signature “Bruce A.” He started placing thought-provoking phrases on a big picket plank shortly earlier than Trayvon Martin’s loss of life.

“There was loads occurring on the time,” Armstrong advised WRTV. “I form of began placing the shortest assertion I may placed on the board to name consideration to perhaps an answer, perhaps a query.”

Armstrong’s artwork studio is throughout the road from the picket platform he took to color 10 years in the past. He rented an uncovered brick studio for the final 20 years after his retirement.

“Love him, love him, love him!” Armstrong mentioned of retirement life.

The 79-year-old has been making artwork all his life. He says he at all times challenges himself to study one thing new.

“I do some little bit of every thing,” Armstrong mentioned. “Realism, abstraction, charcoal, acrylic, sculpting—a variety. Simply exploring the actually totally different mediums.”


WRTV Picture: Shakira Harris

Bruce Armstrong, also called Bruce A, is an artist based mostly in Indianapolis. On this photograph, Armstrong is sitting in his artwork studio on the north aspect of city.

WRTV Picture: Shakira Harris

A glance contained in the artwork studio of Bruce Armstrong, aka Bruce A.

Regardless of the breadth of his inventive skills, his latest work on the north-facing show panel is frankly quite simple.

An equation seems in white line on a black background: “10 + 21 +?”

It’s a primary board with a fancy that means, requiring what’s, maybe, a extra complicated reply.

“As everyone knows, a month or so in the past, we had 10 massacres in Buffalo. Then in Texas, he killed 21 folks,” Armstrong mentioned. “In my thoughts, I mentioned, ‘This can go on,’ you recognize. And so, utilizing my pill right here, I mentioned, ‘What can you set there to attract consideration to this?'” “

The biggest a part of this equation, says Armstrong, is the query mark.

The query mark is what creates this factor, mentioned Armstrong, ‘What can we do? “

With each phrase, phrase, or name to motion he places on the board, Armstrong says, he “pays to get a query” in return. Query to query if you’ll.

Armstrong defined that he believed that if folks burrowed additional; If we interact in crucial conversations by asking questions first, we’ll discover that we’re extra alike than we expect, and we’ll discover frequent floor – even perhaps an answer.

“Typically we’re so busy, we take into consideration the result and we do not take into consideration the best way to have an effect on the entire,” Armstrong mentioned.


WRTV Picture: Shakira Harris

Bruce A.’s newest work. On the nook of the thirtieth and middle on the north aspect of Indianapolis it says, “10+21+?” The quantity 10 signifies the variety of folks killed in Buffalo, New York, after a mass taking pictures in a grocery store on Saturday, Could 14, 2022. The 21 represents the folks killed at an elementary college in Ovaldi, Texas, on Tuesday, Could 24. Query mark, says artist Bruce Armstrong: “What can we do” to cease mass shootings? He hopes that the mural will imply that extra folks could have productive conversations.

The artist says when the thirtieth nook has grow to be a four-way cease in recent times, visitors has slowed. It allowed folks to essentially go searching, particularly at that billboard.

So I mentioned, ‘You recognize what, on their (passerby) busy day–good or dangerous or indifferent–if you set one thing helpful right here, perhaps their day would change for the higher.’ “So, I regarded into the nook, and I mentioned, ‘You recognize, you’ll be able to put one thing in right here to create a query, which results in a dialog.'”

Armstrong has painted solely a few dozen billboards over the previous decade. He mentioned he painted the flag of justice, the phrase “vote” in 2020, and simply earlier than the final equation, he painted a mural referred to as “Strive.”

“That provides you a sign of ‘Strive what?'” Armstrong mentioned. “I am making an attempt to get a query with what I am asking right here.”

Armstrong hasn’t had many individuals discover out he is behind the artwork on that billboard, however after they do, some name to talk.

“They have been all full strangers,” Armstrong mentioned.


WRTV Picture: Shakira Harris

A mural at Nook 30 and Middle in Indianapolis learn, “10+21+?”

Armstrong mentioned that each dialog went properly, whilst they started to point out off.

“I’ve had a gentleman’s name as a result of I had a flag right here. And I wrote ‘justice’ on it, you recognize, justice is now very broad. However when he spoke to me, he mentioned, ‘This flag, it may possibly appear insulting’ by his interpretation. However in The second you mentioned, ‘Okay, I am a Vietnam veteran, are you a service man? “That modified the dynamics,” Armstrong mentioned of the dialog. We discovered the frequent denominator simply by being on responsibility. Then the questions grew to become extra common, and we have been in a position to have a pleasant dialog, you recognize?”

On the finish of the day, Armstrong hopes to reinforce his artwork in his 30s, enhance the viewer’s day central, and result in thought-provoking dialog. Both with your self or with somebody locally.

“Once in a while, I might get a name, and so they mentioned, ‘Are you Bruce A.?’ And I mentioned, “Yeah, I am Bruce A.” They usually mentioned, “Love that piece over there!” And I mentioned, “Fantastic! Hope your day improves.” “That is my purpose,” Armstrong mentioned.

See extra of Armstrong’s work and meet him on the French Market on Saturday, September 10, the place he could have a sales space. He’s additionally a part of the “WE ARE INDY ARTS” group.

WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris might be reached at shakkira.harris@wrtv.com. You’ll be able to comply with her on Twitter @shakkirasays.