Portland Streetcar has wrapped one of its vehicles with art by local Black artist Edmund Holmes in an effort to showcase Black art and contribute to the national conversation about racial justice. The exterior wrap displays original work from Holmes’ “Black Shield: Love Over Hate and Equality” collection.
“As a community partner, we are thrilled to display local art that supports our racial justice mission,” said Portland Streetcar, Inc. Executive Director Dan Bower. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to partner with Edmund to make one of our vehicles a mobile art exhibit.”
Portland Streetcar has previously wrapped only one other vehicle, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team in the fall of 2019. The new vehicle wrap is intended to support Portland’s Black community and illustrate Portland Streetcar’s support for racial justice. A 2019 survey found that 32% of Portland Streetcar riders identify as non-white, compared with 23% of Portlanders as a whole.
Edmund "Mundo" Holmes born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and has now been a Portland, Oregon resident for ten years. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Product Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. As a kid, Mundo dreamed about being an illustrator and designer, and explored both avenues for the majority early on. After interning at Nike, Edmund returned to Portland after graduating from CCS to attend Pensole Academy. Shortly after, he moved to Portland permanently to pursue a career in the footwear industry.
Designing footwear for Jordan Brand Training & Lifestyle, Nike Golf, Nike Baseball and currently Nike Training, and staying actively embedded in the art world is what continues to feed Mundo’s creative and cognitive passions. When he’s not creating, he also curates artistic experiences and activations with his group Aesthete Society. Beyond the traditional canvas, his art has translated to footwear, apparel, stickers, buildings, interactive experiences and transportation.
Mundo’s drive was instilled in him early in life by his parents, who taught him and his four brothers the importance of hard work, education, hustle, presentation, and perseverance. These core values ring true with him as north stars for life in his day to day. As art and illustration captured his imagination early in his life, Mundo explored his talents by drawing everything that he saw or loved: Garfield, Ninja Turtles, and Looney Toons characters. He also explored other creative outlets such as dance, graffiti, sculpture and sports.
Mundo's current works command attention for their subject matter, as his pieces speak through the lens of representation, empowerment and life as a Black person. Bold colors, textures, dimensions and blend to create his signature jazz, funk, graffiti inspired style. His hope is that his works evoke fun feelings of self-expression, but with a message to the world about who he is, where he stands and his thoughts on society. Mundo focuses on finding happiness, positivity and new ways to package messages to open eyes, minds, and hearts to balance the often heavy topics his subjects often handle. His aim is to leave his audience inspired, encouraging them to reflect on what they have learned from his work and how they feel after digesting his art. Mundo primarily works in acrylics, digital and ink. He also stretches his imagination by trying new mediums such as clay, collage, pencil, and mixed media.
"Black Shield: Love Over Hate and Equality" are part of a new collection that I have been developing to address the way Black people have to show up to the world: protected. Protected from the hate, unfair treatment, injustices, stereotypes and systems in place, which exist and Black people are forced to overcome. The characters are surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes and vibrant colors.
“The Black Shield: Love Over Hate” is created to protect against all of the negativity and hate towards Black people. The color is bright to represent our energy, which we projected to be seen as equals to others, and treated with respect. The character is holding the heart to express love, positivity and encouragement, while the angry / hate / negative face is falling down because this way of life will not be tolerated.
"Black Shield: Equality" is part of a new collection of characters that I have been developing to address the way Black people have to show up to the world: protected. Protected from the hate, unfair treatment, injustices, stereotypes and systemic issues that exist which Black people are forced to overcome. The characters are surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes and with pallets of black and white. The Black Shield is surrounded by protective layers of fun shapes to absorb all of the negativity and hate towards Black people. Black and white represent all the known and unknown rules that need to be reevaluated. The Black Shield holds money, a gavel, a pencil, a house, and a heart. This symbolizes that equality is desired and deserved by all no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, economic or social status. The system needs to be rewritten so that laws apply to everyone, and that everyone is treated equally.