Graffiti artists’ colorful past turns into a colorful wall in Black River Falls

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It’s been a tough year for countless professions. Many artists have found it especially tough to find work during the pandemic. In Black River Falls, two La Crosse artists with a colorful past have found work in spray painting a huge colorful wall.

Together Cody Sanderson and Alex Remen of La Crosse have created the business “Cosa Ink.” The mural artists say they have always been the creative type.

“You should have seen my teachers at school. When I was supposed to be doing homework I was decorating my paper,” Sanderson said.

They admit their artistic talents weren’t always used in the right ways.

“My mom wouldn’t let me spray paint her walls so I had to go find my own walls to practice my art,” Sanderson said.

Owner of Karma New and Used in Black River Falls, Dave Hatch says the two artists have told him a few stories about their past.

“They actually used to get in trouble for graffitiing the downtown parking ramps in La Crosse,” Hatch said,

But, in seeing their talent..

“It’s really intriguing to see what somebody can do with a spray can,” said Hatch.

He wanted to give the guys a blank canvas. A huge one at that.

“It means the world to me. a lot of people told me i wouldn’t make anything out of myself doing art,” Remen said.

Remen and Sanderson say they’re using this job as an opportunity to give back for the youthful transgressions and a way to jump start their careers in mural art.

“It’s crazy we are making a career out of making something out of nothing,” Sanderson said.

Beyond Hatch hiring them for the job, the business owner has also gifted the artists with scaffolding and a trailer to hold and transport their supplies.

“I mean he put us on another level. I thought we were professional then but now we got this and were on another level of awesomeness,” Sanderson said.

They say, at first, the community wasn’t a big fan of what started out looking like graffiti.

“We got yelled at a couple times,” Sanderson and Remen said.

However, with the mural nearly finished, they say reactions have changed.

“Now people stop and give us a thumbs up stop and talk to us,” Hatch said.

The artists say they hope the mural makes the community and their families proud.

Many people have already come out to take pictures in front of the new mural. Hatch hopes this can help bring more business to downtown Black River Falls.

The artwork is expected to be finished by next week.

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