by Rick Winterson
Last weekend, except for a couple of finishing touches, the brilliant and colorful mural along the east wall of Loco Taqueria & Oyster Bar was finished. It is the creation of Augstine Kofie, who was born and trained in art in Los Angeles. One key influence in his background was graffiti, in which he worked during the 80s and 90s. This exposure taught him the value of surfaces and use of multiple levels in large works. Perhaps most important, his earlier work, when revisited, gave him an appreciation for selecting colors that change slowly with time.
Take a look at the east wall of Loco that stretches along F Street. Try to view it in the morning sun. Take in the deep, warm brown that contrasts with the planes of white and ochres varying from light yellow to almost orange – these are the colors of new construction, of new wood, wallboard, fresh paint and plaster. Examine the geometry Kofie uses: his shallow, inclined planes give an almost restful look to the whole 10-foot by 50-foot mural; the short, sharp verticals are the actual windows in Loco’s east wall. In a way, this turns Kofie’s work into a kind of “installation”, which perfectly reflects the ribs, roofs, and structures of South Boston’s urban life and its low-slung artifacts.
And consider the genesis of Kofie’s mural. Kofie, his photographer friend Todd Mazer, and Loco co-owner Mike Shaw (“el jefe”) struck up a conversation over a beer at Loco one night. One topic led to another, and the next thing anyone knew, Augustine Kofie was turning the east wall at Loco into one of his creations.
Doesn’t that evoke Southie and its many other murals over the decades?