“10+21+?” Indy mural prompts us to have a conversation

INDIANAPOLIS – Bruce Armstrong has been portray murals on the billboard on the nook of Central Avenue and thirtieth Road since 2012. The longtime Indianapolis artist, maybe greatest identified by his signature “Bruce A.” He started inserting thought-provoking phrases on a big picket plank shortly earlier than Trayvon Martin’s loss of life.

“There was so much occurring on the time,” Armstrong advised WRTV. “I type of began placing the shortest assertion I might placed on the board to name consideration to perhaps an answer, perhaps a query.”

Armstrong’s artwork studio is throughout the road from the picket platform he took to color 10 years in the past. He rented an uncovered brick studio for the final 20 years after his retirement.

“Love him, love him, love him!” Armstrong mentioned of retirement life.

The 79-year-old has been making artwork all his life. He says he at all times challenges himself to be taught one thing new.

“I do some little bit of every little thing,” Armstrong mentioned. “Realism, abstraction, charcoal, acrylic, sculpting—a variety. Simply exploring the actually completely different mediums.”


WRTV Picture: Shakira Harris

Bruce Armstrong, often known as Bruce A, is an artist primarily based in Indianapolis. On this picture, Armstrong is sitting in his artwork studio on the north aspect of city.

WRTV Picture: Shakira Harris

A glance contained in the artwork studio of Bruce Armstrong, aka Bruce A.

Regardless of the breadth of his creative skills, his current work on the north-facing show panel is frankly quite simple.

An equation seems in white line on a black background: “10 + 21 +?”

It’s a primary board with a posh that means, requiring what’s, maybe, a extra complicated reply.

“As everyone knows, a month or so in the past, we had 10 massacres in Buffalo. Then in Texas, he killed 21 folks,” Armstrong mentioned. “In my thoughts, I mentioned, ‘It will go on,’ you already know. And so, utilizing my pill right here, I mentioned, ‘What can you set there to attract consideration to this?'” “

The biggest a part of this equation, says Armstrong, is the query mark.

The query mark is what creates this component, mentioned Armstrong, ‘What can we do? “

With each phrase, phrase, or name to motion he places on the board, Armstrong says, he “pays to get a query” in return. Query to query if you’ll.

Armstrong defined that he believed that if folks burrowed additional; If we interact in crucial conversations by asking questions first, we are going to discover that we’re extra alike than we expect, and we are going to discover widespread floor – even perhaps an answer.

“Typically we’re so busy, we take into consideration the end result and we do not take into consideration methods to have an effect on the entire,” Armstrong mentioned.


WRTV Picture: Shakira Harris

Bruce A.’s newest work. On the nook of the thirtieth and middle on the north aspect of Indianapolis it says, “10+21+?” The quantity 10 signifies the variety of folks killed in Buffalo, New York, after a mass capturing in a grocery store on Saturday, Might 14, 2022. The 21 represents the folks killed at an elementary faculty in Ovaldi, Texas, on Tuesday, Might 24. Query mark, artist Bruce Armstrong says: “What can we do” to cease mass shootings? He hopes that the mural will imply that extra folks could have productive conversations.

The artist says when the thirtieth nook has turn out to be a four-way cease in recent times, visitors has slowed. It allowed folks to essentially go searching, particularly at that billboard.

So I mentioned, ‘You recognize what, on their (passerby) busy day–good or dangerous or indifferent–if you set one thing helpful right here, perhaps their day would change for the higher.’ “So, I seemed into the nook, and I mentioned, ‘You recognize, you may put one thing in right here to create a query, which ends up in a dialog.'”

Armstrong has painted solely a couple of dozen billboards over the previous decade. He mentioned he painted the flag of justice, the phrase “vote” in 2020, and simply earlier than the final equation, he painted a mural referred to as “Attempt.”

“That provides you a sign of ‘Attempt what?'” Armstrong mentioned. “I am making an attempt to get a query with what I am asking right here.”

Armstrong hasn’t had many individuals discover out he is behind the artwork on that billboard, however once they do, some name to talk.

“They had been all full strangers,” Armstrong mentioned.


WRTV Picture: Shakira Harris

A mural at Nook 30 and Middle in Indianapolis learn, “10+21+?”

Armstrong mentioned that each dialog went effectively, at the same time as they started to indicate off.

“I’ve had a gentleman’s name as a result of I had a flag right here. And I wrote ‘justice’ on it, you already know, justice is now very broad. However when he spoke to me, he mentioned, ‘This flag, it may well appear insulting’ by his interpretation. However in The second you mentioned, ‘Okay, I am a Vietnam veteran, are you a service man? “That modified the dynamics,” Armstrong mentioned of the dialog. We discovered the widespread denominator simply by being on responsibility. Then the questions grew to become extra basic, and we had been in a position to have a pleasant dialog, you already know?”

On the finish of the day, Armstrong hopes to reinforce his artwork in his 30s, enhance the viewer’s day central, and result in thought-provoking dialog. Both with your self or with somebody in the neighborhood.

“Once in a while, I might get a name, and so they mentioned, ‘Are you Bruce A.?’ And I mentioned, “Yeah, I am Bruce A.” And so they mentioned, “Love that piece over there!” And I mentioned, “Fantastic! Hope your day improves.” “That is my aim,” Armstrong mentioned.

You may see extra of Armstrong’s work and meet him on the French Market on Saturday, September 10, the place he could have a sales space. He’s additionally a part of the “WE ARE INDY ARTS” group.

WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris may be reached at shakkira.harris@wrtv.com. You may comply with her on Twitter @shakkirasays.