Secret Walls Highlights Downtown Culture

Secret Walls 5

What happens when you mix art with competition, an underground vibe and mystery beer specials? You get a friendly but fierce live illustration series called Secret Walls. The self-described “Fight Club” of the art scene has touched down in Vegas for the summer and I’m about to break the first rule.

Secret Walls started in a bar in London and has since visited 50 cities around the globe with one concept in mind: black and white. Six artists are pitted against each other with only a white canvas and a black marker and acrylic paint. They are given 90 minutes to create whatever they please, and the volume of cheers determines the top three winners.

It’s a global platform for the artists, but everything about it feels local. From the impromptu meetings Downtown, to a crowd as diverse as a Dove commercial, the Las Vegas heartbeat is heard loud and clear.

Work by Orfin

Work from Orfin

Second place winner of the latest competition on May 26, Jerimiah Kaniaupio, better known as Orfin, got his artistic start by painting alley walls in First Friday’s early days. Within minutes of talking to the Las Vegas native, his loyalty to those around him became evident. “I eventually want to open an International Public Offering, so that everyone I grew up with can have a chance to invest in my business,” Kainiaupio said, while sporting jewelry that he designed himself.

Mike Briggs, first place winner and native resident, said it was important for him to represent the Las Vegas community. He said that he “stopped paying attention in school, and started drawing.” Well hey, looks like not paying attention can pay off.

Both artists, along with illustrator and photographer JustAnothrDay, will advance to the sixth battle in July for the bracket-style art tournament. The fifth battle will be held in June, with a battle every month until September, but exact dates have yet to be released. To stay informed about dates and locations of the upcoming battles follow @SecretWallsLV on Instagram.

Vegas Seven