Baltimore muralist with Alpena ties to lead ALL presentation
Baltimore-based professional street artist and muralist Nether 410 is bringing his expertise to Alpena — virtually.
On Wednesday at 2 p.m., the Association of Lifelong Learners will host a Zoom presentation by the muralist.
“Nether will speak about the history of street art/muralism, show you a bit of his portfolio and explain what he does,” the ALL press release noted. “Nether’s works can be found in Baltimore, Maryland and many U.S. cities, also internationally in London, Paris, Berlin, and Montreal.”
The grandson of Gordon and Vernie Nethercut of Alpena, his given name is Justin Nethercut, but his professional artist name is Nether 410. The area code for Baltimore is 410.
He has lived in Baltimore his whole life — all 31 years. He has painted over 100 murals since he started in 2010, he said on Friday.
“I lost count after 100,” he said with a laugh. “I’m only slightly past that.”
All his painting is self-taught and inspired by learning from other street artists, asking questions, and loads of practice, he said.
“Nether’s work is a social documentation of the struggles, dreams, history and dilemmas that our cities and subcultures face,” the release explains. “His outdoor works act as an artistic hand to a community’s aspirations and are site-specific and focused to the locale. Pieces are generally designed in conceptual collaboration with native stakeholders. Woven into many of the artworks is a spiritual, natural sense of balance and design evoking an understanding of our presence in and importance to our surrounding ecosystems. The quest is an attempt to help reclaim and recycle neglected parts of the landscape, bring out the city’s cultural pride, and capture the poetic chaos that defines Baltimore and some other urban areas.”
Over the past 11 years, Nether 410 has painted over 70 walls across Baltimore, and helped organize over 30 more pieces of public art. In addition to painting murals, Nether 410 is a founding co-director of the public art and landscaping organization Arts + Parks, which he and his best friend Elise Victoria established in 2016. For more, visit artsandparks.org.
“She builds urban parks,” he said of Victoria. “More than just, like, planting flowers, she has a whole landscaping and environmental construction company. So we pretty much go in and work with neighborhoods together. And we work with neighborhoods to tackle some of the beautification issues they have. Like, often in Baltimore, they’ll tear down a vacant house and then it will create a wall and a lot. And if nothing is done with that, it will generally transition into a place for public dumping. So we’ll come in and work with communities.”
The Bocek neighborhood in Baltimore was one of their projects.
“We had kind of talked about the aspirations of the community,” he said, noting that he draws inspiration for his murals from the local people and native plants and animals to create refreshing, colorful artwork.
“In general I would credit most of it to Baltimore, and just being in a very interesting place,” he said of his creative inspiration. “It’s always been very intriguing to me … so I kind of live in this sea of endless content. There are so many stories I can explore there.”
Nether 410 works primarily with spray paint to complete his murals.
He also co-curated the Eubie Blake: Sandtown Mural Project in 2015 with Ernest Shaw following painting the Freddie Grey Memorial Mural and the Wall Hunters project in 2013 around the issues of negligent ownership housing.
For more information about Nether 410 and his projects, visit nether410.com, or on Instagram@nether410.
As for whether Nether will ever create a mural in Alpena, he said he would love for that to come to fruition.
“I want to, at some point,” he said of painting a mural in Alpena.
For the Zoom link for Wednesday’s ALL presentation, email ALL@Alpenacc.edu.
Reach Darby Hinkley at firstname.lastname@example.org.