A grand tribute to intestines

| 27 Oct 2017 | 12:23

Just don’t call it graffiti. The murals that went up in August around Sussex, NJ, are a “curated venture,” said Stefanie Jasper, artist, gardener and restaurateur.

Jasper, 57, and her husband Bob Whitescarver, 58, are the owners of the new health food cafe, Get Juiced. To celebrate their grand opening, they commissioned several New York City-based artists to come paint the town. That’s because in addition to introducing more locally grown, fermented and otherwise gut-friendly fare, the pair is also on a mission to introduce more art to Sussex.

They researched artists, and once their crew was in place, gave them prompts in the form of words like “vibrant” and “joyful,” “wellness” and “digestion.” The cafe’s motto, after all, is “love your guts.”

The artwork -- covering the cafe awning, the side of the cafe building and two sides of an adjacent garage -- took anywhere from a few hours to three days, coinciding with the juice bar’s opening. When Dirt visited, about 25 people were gathered to watch the artists work. The murals are colorful and abstract. There’s no way to miss them; no way not to stop and look, and think about internal function of course.

“Going into this project I was slightly intimidated,” said Brink Jones, who painted the side of the garage. Known for designing jewelry and tattoos and making sculptures, “I generally don’t work with spray paint,” he said. His mural, he feels, “represents that no matter how far removed we may become from our planet in nature, life will always find a way to flourish.”

“So glad that tired awning has life again,” wrote Matt Coykendall, a lifelong resident of Sussex, on Facebook. “Luv pulling into positivity when I get home! They are really awesome people with a lot of positive energy, bringing good stuff to the area!”

Jasper and Whitescarver have done this sort of thing before. Last year, they contracted mural artists to decorate their home -- which is an industrial trailer, with five surrounding food gardens -- in Hamburg, NJ, as well as their garage, shed, studio, and a big tree stump. The murals are trippy, depicting various creatures in some sort of galactic setting. One resembles a snake with the head of a cat and a crown.

Cheyenne Boccia