A fourth whale is being added to an iconic ocean-themed mural outside Planet Self Storage in Boston’s South End. The giant painting was in the news last summer after a new residential development obstructed its view to motorists traveling along the Southeast Expressway. The new addition will face the former site of the “Boston Herald” Building, which now houses Ink Block, a new residential and retail space.
The original artwork of three killer whales splashing in the surf was painted on the multi-story self-storage building in1998 by artist Ron Deziel. It became a landmark for motorists and brought notoriety to the storage business.
Ink Block developer National Development commissioned graffiti artist Tyson Andree to add the fourth whale to the mural. Andree is spray-painting the sea mammal on a 15-foot-high-by-68-foot-long section of the storage facility’s northern wall that was previously yellow and a “a bit loud for a residential community,” said Bryce Grefe, an owner of Storage Investment Management Inc. (SIMI), the self-storage management firm that operates the property.
The addition to the mural is loosely based on Andree’s 2014 work called “The Sole Controller,” which is hanging in Ink Block’s lobby. The artwork will show an abstract sea mammal, a departure from the original mural’s literal depiction of whales, according to the source. It will be connected to the neighborhood through its aquatic subject matter as well as by the way it references the kind of art that would have been seen there in ages past, Andree told the source.
Art is being integrated into the design of Ink Block on every level, Ted Tye, managing partner at National Development, wrote in a blog post on Ink Block’s website. “We are honored to be able to support the work of an artist like Tyson, as we share a passion for this creative neighborhood, which attracted us to invest here in the first place.”
Although Planet Self Storage lost a lot of drive-by visibility following last year’s new housing construction, the business wasn’t adversely affected, Grefe said. Rather, the new residences brought the facility new customers.
Planet Self Storage operates several facilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
SIMI offers facility-management and consulting services in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Its principals also own self-storage facilities.