LIMA — JT Daniels, an artist from Kansas City, is spending a week with Lima Senior students creating a mural in a hallway of the high school’s arts wing.
JT’s work weaves various elements such as characters and phrases into streamlined designs that represent the heartbeat of the urban community. The overlapping faces and characters in the illustrations are visual representations of the people he interacts with. He was first in contact with the students of Lima Senior via Zoom. These conversations and interactions then became the compositions that signify the ever-transforming and growing human experience. The students’ contributions are evident in the completed mural.
Originally from Kansas City, JT Daniels started painting murals in 2013 when he got his first chance to lead a small group of young people through their first community mural project. In 2014, following the success of his first mural, he took on the role of Quality Assessor for a local mural program while simultaneously working as a youth mentor in Jackson County. By combining art, mentorship and engagement, JT’s work has allowed him to share his artistic voice. His work depicts overlapping faces, words and characters, which are a visual reference of all the people he has spoken to and shared spaces with over time.
“Every time I see an empty wall…I see an opportunity to communicate. I look at things in threes. It helps to keep things symmetrical. In my work, I take the opportunity to add phrases or words that have personal meaning, one of my favorites being ‘Sup’, which stands for ‘Surviving Under Pressure’.
By creating public art and spending time in various places, JT realized that when individuals say “what’s up” to each other, that act essentially becomes a narrative of what ultimately made us helped to survive. The idea of “SUP” then begins to encompass the idea of what it is to be human and how we survived that. He wants to take this embodiment of what “Surviving Under Pressure” means to people and bring it to life through art.
JT Daniels began practicing art as a teenager, becoming the designated artist for school projects, painting custom skateboards, and selling artwork to friends and mentors. Currently, he uses his art to support and uplift the community. His murals can be seen all over Kansas City, adorning the walls of small businesses, streetcar stops, galleries and local neighborhoods.
The original concept designed by Lima Senior High students and JT Daniels on the wall next to the mural.
A central figure in the mural with an LSH ceiling used to link the artwork to the Lima Senior community.
One end of the mural with “FAMILLE” having replaced “SPARTANS” in the original drawing.
JT Daniels presents his latest creation in the arts wing of Lima Senior High School.
Contact Dean Brown at 567-242-0409