Misty Blue by Andrew Hem (2017)

The Avenue Concept x RIHPHC Public Art Tour

Misty Blue by Andrew Hem (2017)

Providence, Rhode Island 02906, United States

Created By: The Avenue Concept


Driving North on 95 and as you look out onto Downtown Providence, you can see a square of brilliant blue, a solemn face, a shaft of green, a purple striped shirt. At 45’ square, Andrew Hem’s Misty Blue is backed by Johan Bjurman’s Trompe l’oeil façade at Hanley Building (the oldest large-scale mural in Providence and not produced by The Avenue Concept). Together these pieces create a color-saturated entry point into the Downtown Corridor.

Andrew Hem carried the idea of Misty Blue from the hills of Cambodia to the streets of Providence over many years. The young woman in the portrait was a child tagging along on a hike up a hill who Hem met while visiting his native Cambodia. It was a picture he said he held onto until he found the right wall.

Hem’s inspiration came from his mother’s stories about her experience in the jungle during the Cambodian genocide. Having heard about Providence’s significant Cambodian population, he wanted the mural’s subject to be Cambodian as well.

Not only is Misty Blue a gateway to the city, but also a gateway to learning. Many schools have used the mural’s ethereal beauty as a way into discussing identity, diversity, culture and belonging. The mural becomes a visual reminder of how recently-resettled refugees and newcomers weave new threads in the fabric of centuries-old communities.

About the Artwork:

Misty Blue by Andrew Hem (2017)

The son of refugees from Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime, Hem was inspired by our city’s robust Cambodian community to create the image you see here. Working from a photo of a young girl he encountered in Cambodia, he set her against a dream-like forest full of trees and fireflies. Hem’s build of colors in the piece create an ethereal composition that shift according to the light. His range of colors and how he creates them is remarkable. Be sure to watch Andrew Hem’s interview to hear more about his work.

Material: C2 Paint

Artist IG: @andrewhem

Sponsors: Adler's Design Center & Hardware, City of Providence, INOPERAbLE, Marc Greenfield

This point of interest is part of the tour: The Avenue Concept x RIHPHC Public Art Tour


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