Spotlight: See the Trailer for a New Documentary About Artist King Saladeen’s Work in Sequoia National Park
"Dream Big Sequoia" was shot months before a devastating wildfire.
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About the Artist: Self-taught American artist King Saladeen, best known for his “Money Bear” works, has earned a global following with his Pop grafitti aesthetic.
As a teenager, his interest in art was so apparent that his family allowed him to paint the walls of their home. The artist often credits his late friend, John “JP” Thompson, as the inspiration for “Money Bear”; Thompson supported the young Saladeen by buying him his first set of professional art supplies.
Saladeen’s career highlights include a turn as part of the “Big Board Floor Art” program of the New York Stock Exchange; a capsule clothing collection with Champion athletic wear (2018); and the debut of vinyl sculpture “JP the Money Bear” at ComplexCon (2018). In 2019, he created artwork for a 200-foot mural on the walls of the Philadelphia International Airport.
Saladeen is also an active philanthropist who has organized school-supply giveaways, basketball tournaments, and Thanksgiving dinner giveaways. Last year, he handed out 14,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to kids in Philadelphia and New York.
Why We Like It: In 2021, Saladeen teamed up with the film studio Mural Texas to create a documentary about his work in the natural environment of Sequoia National Park. The film’s creator found inspiration in the idea of the “JP Money Bear” character returning to the forest.
Filmed amid the majestic grandeur of the park, the film depicts the artist working against incredible backdrops. Though ostensibly a film about Saladeen’s work, it also became an homage to the wonders of the park, which was partially destroyed by a wildfire just a few months after the film was recorded.
According to the Studio: “Sequoia National Park is one of the more fascinating parks in North America, sitting between 4,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation, and home to 40 different sequoia groves, ranging between one and 10,000 Sequoia trees per grove. The Sequoia trees are visually striking and dominant in size, and rising above these giant trees is General Sherman, the largest living sequoia in the world. These gentle giants are both rare in their age, and in their immense size, with a powerful warm red hue, and their massive trunks that look like buildings, this was a beautiful and perfect location to film the next Mural Art Project. Mural Texas didn’t know that this would be one of the last times that this forest would be viewed in its entirety before the devastating KNP Complex fire.”
Watch a trailer for the film below.
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