700 delaware by HENSE
700 delaware by HENSE 700 delaware by HENSE
feb 06, 2013

700 delaware by HENSE

700 delaware by HENSE


last year HENSE was commissioned to transform an abandoned church into art installation.the building is located directly across the street from a planned 20,000sqft museum that will house the rubell’s collection of art and a newly planned hotel.


the artist explained the project in more detail to designboom…

‘the project in washington DC was a fun one and I worked with a small crew to complete it. the area where the chruch is located in washington is a part of town that has huge potential to be the next arts district and this project is the first step in bringing some life and color into the area. taking an existing building like the church and painting the entire thing re-contextualizes it and makes it a sculptural object. we really wanted to turn the church into a three-demential piece of artwork. with projects like this one, we really try to use the existing architecture as inspiration for the direction of the painting.’




‘I did several concept drawings for the church to present to the owner as rough ideas of aesthetic direction and knew that visually, I wanted it to be drastically different from what it looked like before painting it. I also wanted to use very bright and bold colors to catch a viewers attention from far away. most of my works are done in layers and I’m never afraid to change the image. the first step was to just get paint and color on every side and surface of the building. we then started developing large shapes and gestures that would takes days to paint. the entire process took several weeks of layering and working.’






‘most of the tools I use in my murals and paintings are the same tools I learned to use by working in the street in the early years. I use rollers, brushes, spray paint, inks, acrylics, mops, enamels, paint sprayers and other various mediums and tools.  scale has always been an important component in my work and I’ve continued to try to push that with my newer projects. almost everything I work on is completely spontaneous and I rarely use a preconceived sketch or concept. recently I’ve been experimenting in treating my exterior works similarly to my paintings.’





‘I received mostly positive reactions from people there in washington DC who came to see the progress in person. there were a few people who thought of it as desecrating on the church. although once it was explained that it was a work in progress and had positive thought behind the gestures, colors and marks, they generally understood.the nature of creating public art is that you are dealing with many different feelings and opinions on art and that can be very subjective. ‘
















  • Looked better before.

    Honest says:

    I.Salazar says:
  • With all the cost, time and effort the artist put in to desecrate this historic building, he could have repainted the exterior in a simpler, albeit decorative fashion, and improved an abandoned landmark. Instead of paying respect to the community that had historic ties to this church, he chose to treat it like a highway underpass. There are appropriate places for large scale, community art. A dignified, historic building — religious or otherwise — is not one of them.

    J.Horton says:
  • very cool and white energy, not like the church before

    juliano says:
  • J.Horton, I disagree, both having lived in DC and having worked in Preservation. He has drawn attention to a building which far too many people have grown accustomed to as abandoned and old, and will perhaps cause them to reconsider it again as a living piece of the community. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the sort of gimmick it takes to get this building sold and re-purposed. I’m not saying this the best method for all historic properties, but truth be told people are not very interested in restoring old churches for use as sanctuaries. Congregations cannot fill them and pay for their constant maintenance — and the only religious groups with any sort of money are converting basketball arenas into worship spaces, not structures of this type.

    Best use? says:
  • Beautiful and vibrant and exciting. Makes me want to plant gardens all around it and have neighborhood children in to grow food and flowers and read good books — to be delighted and rejuvenated by the place, rather than feeling saddened by the Church’s decision to abandon their neighborhood and its building. To those who fear the re-envisioning of sacred space, remember that painting life-like figures in churches was once considered a shocking affront as well. Sacred space is made so by the joy and life one feels in it, whether it touches people and lifts their spirits sunward — not by the existence of a steeple.

    MegM says:
  • Looks like a kindergarten … 🙂

    Scandarelli says:

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