Photography by: Creative Collective

Luna Bliss

Marka27 blends elements of street/pop culture with Mexican and indigenous aesthetics—a signature look the artist has coined “Neo Indigenous.”

The interplay of Marka27’s role as cultural historian, activist, and philosopher are best described in the artists own words:

“I’m known as an artist with a rich history in graffiti, street culture, design and activism through art. I believe that design is a creative expression wholly powerful, impactful, and progressive if guided by genuine purpose. The “purpose” is what’s most important and that’s to engage with an audience in order to achieve a dialogue. With today’s climate it’s important to control our narratives as BIPOC by empowering each other through our respective creative process. My approach for design — whether product or graphic driven– is similar to my process creating art. Both start with passion, discovery, and building a narrative. My passion comes from the streets, not merely studying it but living it as well. It’s a way of life. Creating street murals, paintings, and product reflects my purpose for engaging an audience in a dialogue on cultural authenticity and awareness driven by self-expression.”

Marka 27 immigrated into the US via Texas with his family, and eventually made his way to Boston where he worked on the street wear collection with Converse. Given his background with Converse, Marka 27 always uses a semi-gloss black background. All his work is significant in scale and features a person of color.  

The person in this work is his daughter, who was 9 years old at the time. She is holding a flower and a bird, and the petals are coming off the flower.  

Of note, all of the artists working on murals in Lynn at that time were Latinx but didn’t know each other. The area became a Latin quarter. To the surprise of Marka 27, the artist painting a mural on the building in front of his incorporated the petals in Marka 27’s piece into the piece he was painting, to connect the pieces. This detail of continued imagery was a complete surprise to Marka 27, a gesture that was greatly appreciated. The artists in this mural festival became good friends and went on to collaborate on future mural projects. 

Marka27, Luna Bliss, 2017. Semi gloss black and acrylic on primed brick, 47 x 46 ft. Public art. ©Marka27. All rights reserved.

In this mural, a child marvels at an explosion of petals and feathers bursting from her outstretched palms. Yet her somber expression reflects the substantial obstacles posed to the Latino American community, especially in accessing equitable healthcare.

According to the EPA, Latino American children are disproportionately affected by asthma and are more likely to be hospitalized as a result of asthma complications (read more). One one hand, Latino American children may have higher rates of exposure to environmental triggers of asthma. But, importantly, on the other hand, Latino American families face unique difficulties in healthcare encounters (read more), particularly with regard to language medium. Studies have shown that language barriers both increase unnecessary testing and resource utilization (read more) and increase the chance of serious adverse events during hospitalization (read more). Language differences like these as well as unequal access to health insurance, transportation, and education are major concerns for the next generation of Latino youth in America.

Marka27

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The Heart + Soul installation is a retrospective of some of the many murals and pieces of art created by artists in collaboration with Beyond Walls. In the fall of 2020, Beyond Walls presented the street art festival Truth Be Told in Lynn, Massachusetts. The artwork featured in the Truth Be Told festival was born of the COVID-19 pandemic and explores the idiosyncrasies of the times. Heart + Soul is a collection of photographs and digital art examining the interplay between community and art. The subjects and symbols within the works reflect the resilience of the diverse people where they reside. As the photographs celebrate the community, Heart + Soul aims to create space that not only reflects the vibrant diversity of the staff and patient community, but celebrates them.

This collection is the result of generous donations from Mass General Imaging and the MGH Office of Equity and Community Health.

Other work from Heart + Soul