It’s a rainy Friday evening in the Kensington area of the city of Philadelphia. Giovanni (videographer) and I arrived at the front door of the MaKen Studios North, at 3525 I Street. As I’m fumbling with the touch screen search panel to find the featured artist’s name, the door opens. A Tall man with cornrows to the back greets us with one of the coolest jean jackets I’ve ever seen. “Hello, I’m here with Hypefresh magazine, and I’m looking for the Iye Yin Dae mural reveal,” I said to the man. “You’ve come to the right place! Come in!” he replies. Iye Yin Dae greets us and invites us into the enormous loading dock of MaKen Studios. As soon as we walk in, we witness the humongous brand new mural.
Iye Yin Dae worked on this mural relentlessly for three months straight. Even more, He traveled back and forth from his home in West Philly to Kensington. The journey was worth it because he was able to create something marvelous!
Details, Details, Details…
The 1027 square foot wall has “Kensington” in the green cursive text displayed across it. In the background of the mural is a map of the significant street names that surround MaKen Studios and embody the Kensington area. Busy streets such as Tioga Street, Kensington Avenue, Frankford Avenue, Allegheny Avenue, and I Street. At the intersection of I Street and Tioga Street, Iye Yin Dae paints a small factory that represents Maken Studios.
Before MaKen Studios was a space for creatives to come together and produce beautiful artwork, it was an industrial factory. He paid homage to former tenants of the building on the pillars of the mural wall. According to Shift Capital (the management department for MaKen Studios), the building was initially built in the 1910s for the Richardson Mints company. However, for the last 30 years, it has been home to the Philadelphia based discount clothing store JoMar Fabrics.
Philly Boxing Legend
The mural highlights some historical pastimes of Philadelphia. The first piece that grabs your attention is a fictional boxing legend, Rocky, a staple in Philadelphia culture. Rocky movies have been synonymous with Philadelphia for years. Philadelphia natives and tourists from around the world always make sure to run up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps and jump in jubilation with the feeling of accomplishment. Rocky has a statue dedicated to his character at the bottom of the Art Museum, which is a big tourist attraction today.
Kensington Historical Parks and Buildings
This mural paid respect to the historical past times in the Kensington area. He painted park benches surrounded by trees to represent McPherson Square Park and Harrowgate Park on Kensington Avenue. He also painted a baseball diamond that represents the historical Scanlon Playground and a building on the mural to represent the Harrowgate Theater that was closed in 1954.
Wine, Salads, and Celebration
Iye Yin Dae was very hospitable to his guest. He supplied free Honey Grow salads and rice with boxed wine. Additionally, there was free coffee and hot cocoa to warm us up from the chilly temperatures. It was a great atmosphere in the MaKen Studios loading dock. Surrounded by friends and family of Iye Yin Dae, it was a feeling of love and celebration. This was the largest artwork he has ever completed, and seeing the happiness and sense of accomplishment on his face was the best part of the event!
About The Artist
Iye Yin Dae was born and raised in West Philadelphia. Therefore, his knowledge of the city and its neighborhoods make him qualified to work on a project like this. Iye Yin Dae is a self-taught artist that began his journey at a young age to become the artist he is today. For instance, A hand-painted clothing line titled “Iman Fashions” was his first substantial art project. His artistic talents have allowed him to travel the country and share his work with thousands of people. Iye Yin Dae has exhibited his work in multiple events and venues in Philadelphia; also, he teaches art at the Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School during the day. Moreover, he continues to master his talents as a visual artist, fashion designer, musician, and creative director under his brand ARTLIFESTYLE LLC.
Check out his website at https://www.iyeyindae.com/
Follow Iye Yin Dae on Instagram: @iyeyindae