The sighting of a finely dressed gentleman roaming the CityWay/Alexander parking garages has been common since his arrival in December 2012. He’s been spotted reading The New York Times, riding a bicycle, flying planes, and eerily standing in corners. Some have even seen him spray-painting walls, creating graffiti—a bona fide public offense.
This shady character is “the Vandal,” a creation of Nick Walker, the English graffiti artist commissioned by CityWay to throw pieces up all over the complex's two parking garages. Walker uses the Vandal as an alternate persona, allowing him to speak his own mind through the works.
One of Walker's works leads from a "burner" (an elaborate piece) on a zig-zagging trail of red paint that swerves among pillars in the garage and into a wall, where the Vandal is found riding off on a bicycle, carrying a dripping paint can.
For another, on an inner wall, Walker painted the Vandal with a remote control as he looks up toward the next level. As you turn the corner, you find a remote controlled plane zipping along after just having performed a double loop.
The Vandal, who appears several more times throughout the garages, isn’t Walker’s only subject. Walker also painted a little girl wearing a polka-dotted dress and a ski mask—and wielding spray paint cans in both hands. Two kids, one on the other's shoulders, provide the concept for another piece.
Walker, one of more than 20 contemporary artists chosen by the IMA's Lisa Frieman for CityWay installations, started his works long before paint ever met the concrete. Using a stencil technique, he made sketches and then cut-outs of his designs. This allowed him to create the aforementioned burners in a shorter period of time. The pieces took him about a month to complete.
In a final farewell to Indianapolis, Walker snuck in one last tag, his artist’s signature, in the stairwell of The Alexander garage. Its simple reading? "Thank you Indi!”
Photos by Michael Schrader