Monday, January 21, 2013


Todd and Cain Benson are a team of local artists who also happen to be brothers. They invited Dakota and me to preview the progress on their newest mural, an installment that is part of the development with Greenstone Homes at Kendall Yards, and that is situated in a long hallway in the Central Food building.

The mural celebrates a spirit of community.

The Spokane city skyline spans the length of the wall and depicts a variety of local landmarks, such as the Spokane River, the Monroe Street Bridge, and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Cathedral. More importantly, the community is revealed in the faces of its people: a young couple walks hand in hand, a woman blows soap bubbles, and a child reaches hopefully toward the sky. Todd and Cain refer to the mural as a “love letter to Spokane.”

Their artwork captures my interest on several levels.

First, I am interested in the personal connection. Dakota and I will eventually have a part in the pieces they create. This is a story in progress that I’m sure to mention again.

But more than anything, I admire the artists for adding something of value to this community. I love Spokane, and I appreciate their effort to infuse creativity and a sense of artistic expression into our local culture.  At one point, Todd said, "This mural is a story of our lives. Someday we'll look back and say, 'This was our life. These were our times.'"

On another level, I’m interested in how culture evolves because of the internet. Several years ago, I happened to photograph a piece of street art created by Todd and Cain. When I posted their work on my blog, they took notice and contacted me. The connection deepened, mostly by means of Facebook and Blogger, but eventually the mural grew from that connection, at least in part.

Before digital technology, I would have never used a film camera to photograph their art. The cost was too high. And certainly, I would have never published the photograph in a public forum. In all likelihood, we would have never met.

Digital media allow an acceleration of connections and synergy, but creativity speaks to the soul, and that is the value of art. The artist gives an outward expression to an inner vision. I’m grateful to Todd and Cain for honoring that vision and for including my family in their work. 

I'm excited to see this project as it progresses. 

The artists are working from a grid
superimposed over a digital collage.

The piece is still in a preliminary stage.

The faces are shown in black and white,
but color will be added later. 

Eventually, bubbles will be added to the mural.

A dog adds a whimsical touch.

Todd and Dakota...

I love the shimmer depicted in the eyes...

A little perspective to show the length of the hall.


More grids for the mural...

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