HBI recently celebrated the completion of the storefront and façade renovation of the Vertullo Building in Hyde Park. The building looks great, but the brick wall that faced our parking lot was a big blank slate just begging for a mural. Hyde Park Main Streets was thinking the same thing, so Executive Director Emily Patrick asked HBI if we would be willing to let artist Gregg Bernstein install a postcard-style “Greetings from Hyde Park” mural he designed for Main Streets on our end wall. The location is ideal, as it welcomes pedestrians and drivers alike entering Hyde Park from the Fairmount Ave. bridge. For this week’s blog, we interviewed Gregg Bernstein about his work. HBI is grateful to Hyde Park Main Streets for funding this project.
How long have you been painting murals and how did you get started?
I’ve been painting murals for 21 years. I started by painting graffiti. When I went to Mass Art in the early 90s, graffiti was like a sport. But I wanted to find a way to do this kind of painting without getting in trouble. In my junior year of college I met a woman who was working with teens painting murals, so I got linked up with her and by the time I graduated she was giving me a group of kids and some blank walls. My first wall was in Dudley Square.
I got to work with kids for 17 years. I worked for Mayor Menino as the assistant director of the mayor’s mural crew, which is a youth mentorship program where we employed high school students year round. During the winter months, we worked in the studio on panels and then we’d come back outside in the summer to paint walls in the community.
What are the buildings that are pictured in the mural?
Starting from the left you’ve got the Martini Hatch shell - not the martini drink – I think the fellow it was named after was named Martini. The second image is the municipal building, then the Fairmount line commuter rail, the George Wright Golf Course, the Neponset River, and the Riverside Theatre Works; I’m currently working on image of the Menino YMCA that was renovated a few years ago, and then the last image is the old façade of the library.