PLAY world always needs some more color,” he said. “Happy Trails” is painted on the underside of Manayunk Bridge on Green Lane. If you were a cyclist, you might stop and lean your bike against the bridge for a break. So what is “Happy Trails?” Three colorful bikers scooting their way up the hill. “I simplified my style for that piece,” Alloyius said. “It was fun. It was really interesting.” And the mural really speaks to the Manayunk experience. Alongside the bikers are words that perfectly describe Manayunk — nouns like community, outdoors, and trails, and verbs including amaze, shop, and play. “In a lot of my pieces, I try to include some affirmation,” he said. “I like to put a lot of words in my pieces to give it something a bit more tangible.”
“Power Hearts” — Amberella A bit of positivity goes a long way. That’s the message of Amberella’s “Power Hearts” that are scattered around Manayunk (and Philadelphia, for that matter). These affirmations, from “You Got This” to “Choose Love” to “Worthy,” can be that moment of joy after a long day. “The messages are universal to everyone. People can sense authenticity,” Amberella said. But you’ll have to look close for some of these black-and-white, candy-like Power Hearts. A lot of them are prominent on businesses and residences — check out The Wall Cycling Studio and The Isle Apartments, to begin your search. Don’t be surprised if you see more Power Hearts pop up. Amberella always has a few in her trunk, so your next pick-me-up may be on it’s way to Manayunk any day now.
“Look Long & Look Good” — Mat Tomezsko “How do you do a portrait of a whole community?” asked Mat Tomezsko, a Philadelphia native and the artist behind the 30 mural panels that make up “Look Long & Look Good.” These portraits feature ordinary people on an ordinary day, but there’s a secret of the faces looking back. “A community is made up of individuals,” Mat said. “It’s a collective of the people that live in this neighborhood.” The panels hang on buildings up and down Main Street (often at eye level, but sometimes you have to gaze up to spot one). The faces that stare back at you are from Manayunk’s past, present, and future. For some panels, Mat picked faces out of the crowd from historical records he found at the Roxborough Library. Others panels showcase people Mat encountered while walking along Main Street. Finally, a number of panels feature children Mat met — they are the future of this neighborhood. “You see one panel, and then you see another one,” Mat said. “I want you to be able to make that connection immediately.” 46
manayunk.com | Summer 2019