Forward Warrior: Uniting Artists & Communities

Forward Warrior, an annual live painting performance, returned to Cabbagetown in Atlanta June 11-12. Seeking to bring artists and communities together, 36 of Atlanta’s most innovative artists spent the weekend collaborating along a huge public wall on Wylie Street painting from Saturday morning through Sunday evening. We were excited to provide t-shirts for all volunteers and artists and chatted with Forward Warrior Organizer and Artist Peter Ferrari.

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How was your experience organizing Forward Warrior this year?

It was great. I work with some amazing artists, and they help take a lot of the pressure off. I’ve come to realize that as an organizer, all I really have to do is get the paint and supplies there, get out of the artists’ way and let them do their thing. I try and start planning really early, at least a couple months out, so that affords time for unexpected things, and it allows the artists plenty of time to plan their piece. It gets easier every year actually. 

Was it difficult selecting artists? What was the process like?

I try to have a blend of returning folks and new folks. There are a few core artists I’ve worked with for years, love their work and will always invite. I curate the rest of the folks based on the things I see happening in the local art/mural scene. Obviously, my taste comes into play, and there’s a lot of subjectivity in the process. I start lists of folks who might be a good fit throughout the year and try to parse it out to 35(ish) by the time the event comes around. 

Did the event live up to expectations?

I was really pleased with the outcome. The art was great, lots of variation, collaboration and new styles on the wall. My main goal is to keep the wall interesting and engaging for the people who walk by. 

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What are your hopes for Forward Warrior in the coming years? Do you see it expanding even more?

I’d love to expand the event to other parts of Atlanta, I think that will be the first move. Going to other cities is tempting, but I’m a full-time artist in my day-to-day, so I have to balance that with the event planning. We have discussed going on a kind of tour, painting walls along the way. If we can find the funding that may just happen…

How effective do you think art can be in sparking conversation and igniting change?

It’s very effective. Sometimes on an even more basic level, creating public art reminds society that we are inherently a generous and conscientious species. We realize that someone took the time to paint/sculpt/transform something simply for our experience. It not only inspires more art, but altruism and benevolence in general. 

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What inspires you? 

I try not to rely on inspiration as much as hard work these days. Sometimes, the inspiration doesn’t come until you’ve been slogging through a piece for three hours. Practice and work are the basis of all my inspiration. 

What’s next for you?

Just working on commissions at the moment, mostly through developers and art consultants. I have a few huge projects on the horizon this fall, but I shouldn’t say too much. I’m pretty good about updating my social media with current projects, so follow me on Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat: @peterferrariart. 

WRITTEN BY NURAIN ALICHARAN

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