Celebrating positivity round the way in Roxbury.


Roxbury-native Problak (Rob Gibbs) comes home with Breathe Life 3 a new mural at 808 Tremont Street. Representing happiness, hope, blackness, and kinship this is one of Rob’s largest works to date and incorporates his strong graffiti sensibility. Breathe Life brings visual encouragement to the neighborhood and radiates positivity.

 
 

Commissioned by Now + There with The Community Builders and the People’s Baptist Church, Breathe Life is a lower Roxbury homecoming for Problak, encouraging optimism and strength. This is the third in a series of murals by this prolific local painter, muralist, and street artist ready to share his full artistic power with Boston. This project represents a heartfelt expression of the artist’s past, present, and future. It’s our second curatorial project for this space.

A product of the golden age of hip-hop, Gibbs grew up between the Lenox Street Apartments and Orchard Park Projects in Lower Roxbury. Starting in his early teens Rob was experimenting with graffiti and using art as a tool to express his experience of life in the neighborhood. Building on the rich history of black murals in Roxbury, Problak’s work pushes the medium forward into contemporary expression.

This iteration of Breathe Life features a fresh and graphic portrayal of two children, smiling widely, surrounded by radiant beams, practicing the American Sign Language words Breathe Life. More than just a title, Breathe Life is a philosophy, meant to promote positivity, share energy, and lift-up images that reflect the community back to itself.


interact & share the message of positivity

The kids in this piece have more than just those bright smiles to share with you! Watch the mural come to life through augmented reality and learn how you can spread Problak’s message of positivity across Boston.

Step 1: Download the Artivive app

DOWNLOAD FOR APPLE
DOWNLOAD FOR ANDROID OR GOOGLE

Step 2: Open the app, stand back, and hold your phone up to the mural so you can see the full image on the wall.

Step 3: Watch as the kids animate American Sign Language signs for “breathe life”.

Step 4: Teach a friend the signs. Video yourself signing. Share on social media using #BreatheLifeBOS.


 
 

on instagram

 
 

From a young age, Rob “Problak” Gibbs had a vision of beautifying the ghettos of Boston with graffiti art - an art form that is frequently overlooked, under-valued and misunderstood.

The concept that a picture is worth an infinite amount of words inspired Rob and provided him with the opportunity to take ownership of one of our culture’s modern hieroglyphics: graffiti. He developed a vision of beautifying Boston purely by instinct, experiencing his “calling” as a young man, a child of the hip-hop golden age. The need to place social consciousness in hip-hop culture is a driving force behind Problak’s creativity.

His work impels the viewer to allow imagination to become a playground for testing boundaries and breaking rules. Rob is a painter, muralist and graffiti artist who was one of six urban teens to co-found the non-profit youth development organization, Artists For Humanity (AFH) in 1991. Through this innovative non-profit organization, he has been blessed with a career in the arts that has spanned decades and has been able to work as a mentor to young people in the creative process. As AFH’s Paint Studio Director, Rob applies his experiences as an academic scholarship winner, an Americorps Fellow, and a Prudential Youth Leadership Fellow, to overseeing the art studios, leading the painting instruction, and serving as a key team member in AFH’s efforts to expand into neighboring communities, sharing the proven youth development model of arts and entrepreneurship training.

Gibbs is a recipient of a number of awards, including The Goodnight Initiative’s Civic Artist Award, and The Mass Industry Committee’s 2006 Graffiti Artist of the Year award. He has also served as a guest lecturer, teaching one-day sessions on graffiti art and culture to students in Northeastern University’s Foundations of Black Culture: Hip-Hop course.

FOLLOW PROBLAK


Put yourself in the artists earbuds and listen to his working playlist, Vibes to Stay Alive

 
 

Produced with support from

THE COMMUNITY BUILDERS

The Community Builders is a mission-driven real estate development corporation committed to quality, diversity, and prosperity. Their mission is to build and sustain strong communities where people of all
incomes can achieve their full potential.

And The People’s Baptist Church of Boston