Larry Fullwood lays out a tape on Center Court at His Playground in Kensington on Saturday afternoon. He approached his first mural project anxiously and methodically.
He repeatedly ripped off a small piece of tape, stuck it to the cement, and stood back as he mapped out the design in his head.
Fulwood, a 20-year-old junior at Temple’s Tyler School of Art who goes by the name of “Ash Art,” was unaware of the Immortal Vision Studio community program around him. He was wearing an all-black white T-shirt wrapped around his neck to protect him from the scorching sun. He made sure each piece of tape was perfectly aligned before touching the paint pot.
“It pretty much starts with a rough draft. That’s a big thing for me—always start easy,” said Fullwood, who grew up in Jacksonville, Fla. “It’s taking a little longer than I thought, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
The mural was part of a forensic restoration project sponsored by CJ Wolfe, CEO and founder of Immortal Vision Studio, located two blocks from Hise. He repainted all the lines and set traps to breathe new life into the playing field.
“I walk by this park almost every day to go to work,” Wolff said. “It bothers me that the court hasn’t been restored, or that people are asking for money, or that I see children who need school supplies. So I said to myself, if we’re going to give back to the community and pour into the community, we need to start here in Kensington.”
Amar Vision’s community weekend also included financial literacy courses on Saturday mornings. In partnership with Fulton Bank and Philabundance, school supplies and meals were distributed throughout the day.
“August 2021 was our first community weekend,” said Wolff. “We said we’re going to make this a tradition. But last year we didn’t have a lot of resources because we just started our business. Last year we cleaned the streets and as the net grew we had to park it. Received the necessary support to bring it in.
Wolfe’s inspiration for the course renovation came from his experience at the Max Myers Playground growing up in Northeast Philly. Here he learned to play and discovered his love for basketball. He then played at Delaware Valley Charter High School and Gwynedd Mercy University.
A flyer on Temple’s premises for Immortal Vision Studios caught Fulwood’s interest. He checked out her Instagram page, saw that it was a black-owned content creation company, and applied for an internship program.
There were no open positions for interns, but Wolfe relied on Fulwood’s determination to join and made her the brand ambassador.
One of his first major projects was to create a basketball court mural. Within 48 hours they had a detailed digital sketch inspired by the “visual language” of Immortal Vision’s branding.
“You just have to go with the flow and then find what works for you,” Fullwood said of executing his first mural project. “Once you get the hang of it, it gets a little bit easier. …It was definitely very intimidating, but you have to get out of your comfort zone. Once you step out of your comfort zone, good things happen.”
A rendering of the company logo is located in the center court. All out-of-bounds and three-point lines have been redrawn. Globes sit on the hands at the bottom of each basket to represent the world that is in the palm of your hand.
More important than a shared artistic vision was the restoration, which helped provide an outlet for neighborhood kids to find a love of basketball like Wolfe did.
“The fact that on the one hand we can create and do what we love to do and do what we do best is great,” said Wolff. “But it’s true that we can do this for young people here in a place that meant so much to me growing up – a basketball court – where my dreams began.” Inner City Kid, the only one in the park That was something I knew. It’s a joy to bridge the gap between art and basketball.”