Spotlight

GLOSSBLACK

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Are you obsessed with Glossblack, the artist that created the members graffiti wall, as much as we are? This quarter we wanted to shine a spotlight on this talented local artist in preparation for his exhibit in June. Don’t miss the chance to meet him and view more of his work at our Artist Series on June 15th from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Who is Glossblack?

Glossblack LLC is my art & mural business that was created in 2008 but became my career in 2015. People tend to think of Glossblack as my artist name or alias for some reason, but it’s just my business’ name. My name is Jimmy McMenamin and I am an artist-muralist from the Greater Philadelphia area. I have a history of painting graffiti for many years which I consider my foundation to my artistic style and fine artwork. I mainly focus on large-scale public artwork, with many themes being driven by typography, Americana, collage, and color.

How long have you been an Artist?

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I was always interested in art and learning new techniques and methods. I was very interested in graffiti and graffiti culture in high school and that’s definitely when lettering became my focus. I would draw graffiti and mess around with traditional wildstyle lettering, all in a sketchbook, never trying to paint it. I was accepted to Rutgers University where I studied Marine Science and Ecology. At the same time, I was being pulled towards graffiti in a stronger way, I was seeing it everywhere and a few friends were painting so we all formed a crew and started painting heavily. That was right around 2006, and I was painting graffiti weekly and working a full-time job pertaining to my major. Recently, I’ve changed gears and have refined my studio practices and art direction. So I’m truly starting to feel like an artist that’s found my footing, narrowing my view to canvas work that will only amplify larger mural work.

How would you define your brand?

I think I always relied on the idea that I would work for someone, maybe painting a movie set or learning faux finish, etc. Looking back, I feel like it was smacking me in the face for years, that spray painting large-scale work was my specific strength, and that’s the avenue I should be pursuing. That lettering and the way I approach letter structure/texture is unique to me, and no one else, and that’s what will become my brand or trademark.

What’s your favorite part about your work?

As much fun as it is to work on my own art, I actually enjoy the pressure and challenges of working with a client and their brand image. It’s a great honor to be trusted to that degree, that a major company is willing to collaborate or put their image in my hands. For someone to come to me and request my vision for their brand is the highest form of flattery and also a great reminder that I’m doing something right.

How did you get started in this industry?

I started painting graffiti around 2006. In 2008, I started to offer my paint services for mural jobs on Craigslist. This was my first step forward to interacting with clients and taking on almost any type of mural job that was offered. Many of my first clients were daycares, roller rinks, smoke shops, etc. all in the Philadelphia area. I was working a day job at the time and did so up until 2015 when I was able to make Glossblack LLC my full-time job. Since 2015, I’ve refined things more and more, so I no longer take on all types of mural jobs, but instead, I focus on what excites me and pushes my art forward.

What other businesses have you created Art for?

Over the years and years of painting, I’ve painted a wide variety of establishments including residential, local businesses, corporate offices, gyms/CrossFits, daycares, schools, universities, breweries, roller skating rinks, and the list goes on. I have been commissioned by Gap, Comcast, Red Bull, The Philadelphia 76ers, Wells Fargo Center, X Games, Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, Puma, Lyft, NBAonTNT, Justin Bieber, Pabst, Saks Fifth Ave, Bergdorf Goodman, Google, and the list goes on & on.

What was your initial thought/reaction when you were approached about doing the Founders Wall at Roof? 

To be honest, I was a bit intimidated. It is an absolutely beautiful space and wondered where my style of work would fit in. Once I saw the space in person, I knew it was the right call to wrap the walls with writing. Also, I had never been asked to paint that many words/names (200-300 with first and last names) in a designated space, so we had to figure out the best approach. Typically my word collage murals, like this one, are only 50 words provided by the client, then repeated over and over until the space is a wallpaper of writing. So in order to include everyone, it took a bit of problem-solving!