This is the mural that started it all. Although, to be honest, I don't think it's the best or prettiest. Instead, the story behind it is what made us pivot to a much more useful product.
I saw this mural in Bogota, Colombia when I was spending a few months in South America in 2018. If I would have said that I was visiting Bogota 10 years ago, much like my parents did in the early 2000s, I would have been strongly discouraged from visiting due to the violence. While it is not the safest city in the world, it is currently much safer than it was decades ago. In 2018 when I mentioned that I would be going to Bogotá, the main criticism that I heard was that it was ugly, not that it was dangerous.
Incredibly, Colombia and many other south American countries have discovered a way to address both of these issues. This mural was done in what was one of Bogota’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods. That particular wall was in need of serious repair. A group of local artists approached the owner and offered to repair and repaint the entire building, if they were allowed to paint a mural on one wall. The owner accepted and now the neighborhood is having a renaissance. Many similar murals have popped up and now the neighborhood has become a tourist attraction.
This mural opened my eyes to the possibility of transforming the way we see graffiti as an eyesore and a social burden and instead seeing its positive social impact. Our aim was now to help provide a positive cultural and social service.
After interviewing a few muralists, we discovered that a significant amount of time is spent on the more boring aspects such as preparing the surface and drawing the rough outline of the pictures. We believe that if we can save these artists a few hours or even days of prep work, then more murals could be made in a shorter amount of time. We decided to focus on fixing these problems instead of creating a robot that could draw the entire mural. As I mentioned in the story of the mural above, this started as a way of people giving back. We could do much more good by giving aspiring artists something to do instead of replacing them.