Mychal Batson, known artistically as Myc Dazzle is a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, emcee, and music producer who has uses his many talents to fight gentrification while traveling the globe.
In the past two years he’s lived in six different countries and is currently working from South Africa. He maintains a permanent residence in the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul where he’s lived for the past nine years. With a deep connection to his hometown roots, Myc Dazzle has been working on various community development initiatives in the Frogtown/Rondo neighborhood for several years now. His most recent collaboration is with the Frogtown Community Center (Formerly Scheffer Recreation Center), set to open this fall.
“This is such a win for the community. With gentrification hitting Frogtown/ Midway/ Rondo (so) hard, having space like this in the community sounds a bit like progress,” said Myc Dazzle.
The artist’s contribution to the new community development is a mural in the new teen center (Teentopia). His inspiration behind the mural is the diverse community within Frogtown. Reflecting on his own upbringing in the St. Paul neighborhood he wanted the youth of today to see themselves in his artwork.
“It’s super necessary for youth in under-resourced to see themselves reflected – to have access to programming and spaces they wouldn’t otherwise,” said Myc Dazzle.
This personal, reflective, and community-centered art is a reoccurring theme in Batson’s work. Prior to designing the mural, he was commissioned by Frogtown Neighborhood Association to create the Frogtown Small Area Plan, an evolving planning document that allows the community to give input on what they’d like to see in their neighborhood over the next decade. Through community feedback and support from the City of St. Paul, Batson was able to illustrate the 126-page live document to be “absorbed” into the City’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan. Unlike most urban planning documents, Frogtown’s Small Area Plan reads like an in-color comic strip with characters, dialogue, neighborhood highlights and future projections all designed by the hometown illustrator. This radical shift in the way that community visioning is documented increases the accessibility of neighborhood planning by amplifying the voices of residents and reducing literacy barriers. It also opens the door of urban planning to allow non-traditional players to have a seat at the table, i.e. artist Myc Dazzle.
“My art is an example for people who look like me, that art can be a legitimate – even honorable – path to take. Through my art, I aim to provide my community with (some) much-needed reflection,” said Batson.
For more info on the community-centric artist visit www.MycDazzle.com.