In my last post I mentioned Freak Alley. We’re on our way over there now, but along the way, there are so many distractions
Freak Alley, an iconic feature of downtown Boise, was born of an act of random noodling on the back door of Moon’s Cafe — an icon in its own right. Busted in the act by the owner stepping out the door, Colby Akers quickly apologized and offered to remove his graffiti. But the clever owner instead asked him to sign and date his work after he finished it. Other business owners quickly hopped on the cool wagon and asked Akers to beautify their back entrances, too. In no time, Akers had more work than he needed and began to spread the notoriety amongst his underground and established artist acquaintances.
According to Rebecca King of Totally Boise, Freak Alley Gallery has been touted as the oldest outdoor mural gallery in the Northwest. It encompasses the entire alley from 8th to 9th Streets between Bannock and Idaho Streets, and bleeds into adjacent alleys. A miraculously vacant building site on Bannock that serves as an unpaved surface parking lot has provided even more space for street art.
Breaking Boise is an local inside joke. Aaron Paul, who played Jessie Pinkman in the wildly popular AMC series, “Breaking Bad,” grew up in a small agricultural community near Boise. It is said that Paul’s Boise home is listed on Air B&B, if you ever get the itch to visit Boise.
Artists range in age from 7 to 35. Although much of the art employs graffiti style paintings, these works are technically murals, defined as any artwork painted directly onto a wall or building and incorporating architectural features into the image. Graffiti is much the same, but implies unauthorized painting. The murals are refreshed each year with new works, sometimes incorporating new work right alongside an existing piece. The subject matter is completely open to the selected artists, some may have local historic relevance and some may be wildly political in nature. Aker’s overarching goal in establishing Freak Alley was to provide an inclusive platform for often overlooked artists to display their talent and creativity.