In September 2010 I travelled to Sevilla, Spain to participate in Arte Para Todos. Art For All was a two week public art event that saw 40 artists, muralists and sculptors from all over the world to transform the neighborhood Poligono San Pablo, into a gallery of international public work.
Organized by Peter Claesson of Indigo Incoming, the objective was to "offer the opportunity for citizens to enjoy public art, as well as to offer the city an improvement of the public spaces that invites us to reflect and transmit positive messages".
The theme for the event was a broad idea of "Global Community, Local Culture." We were encouraged to think of people envisioning solutions to global problems on the local level; as well as the UN's Millennium Development Goals. Click here to learn more about The UN's MDG.
My mural design has its roots in the practice of Biomimicry. Biomimicry is a fundamental shift in scientific thinking pioneered by biologist Janine Benyus in which one "borrows nature’s design principles to create more-sustainable products and processes."
The main figure in the design finds herself trying to improve upon a solar cell. Scientists have gone the route of Biomimicry by studying photosynthesis in order to create a better solar cell.
The Imagery throughout the design depicts natural elements and occurrences whose properties have been closely studied by scientists in effort to mimic their effects.
For example; coral reefs have taught us how to reduce the CO2 that is released during the process of making cement.
Hawks quickly attain great heights with little energy through riding pockets of air called "thermals".
The strength of spiderwebs can inform improvements in engineering. Gecko feet are being closely studied to devise ways to improve glue adhesion through more natural means.
The trees, providing the Biomimicry mural with a convenient frame. The forest scene on the right recalls Benyus' quote "we need to develop roots and habitate symbiotically where we are." Benyus explains that organisms in a mature forest are very efficient, working with limited resources and developing cooperative relationships
The design itself takes a lesson from nature as it is drawn from a the Fibonacci Spiral, a mathematically proportionate pattern which regularly occurs in nature.
The first few days in Spain were very busy with close to 40 projects starting on the same day. Our fist full day was spent in the warehouse of Todo Pintura making sure everyone had their supplies. I assisted some of the artists with lessons on operating their lifts. I think everyone was expecting to work on scaffolding.
A group of local Sevilla students and artists were on hand to assist all of the muralists. Lolita helped me with quickly blocking in color as well as the gridding, drawing, painting, and even being kind enough to translate conversations between the neighbors and myself.
This was what the wall looked like after 2 days
Closeup of the Hadron Collider and some Nuclear Power Plant stacks as they loom over the globe.
Lolita touching up the Stenocara Beetle, which has slight hairs all over its body that grab and filter water from the air.
It was refreshing to do a mural directly on the wall, I have been so accustomed to working on cloth and installing. I also painted this mural directly from my Blackberry. Every morning I would send new details to my phone to avoid trips to the printer.
I've never been a part of a project that came with so much press in so little time. We were constantly interviewed by El País, and local television and radio stations, as well as independent reporters, and photographers.
This was the initial boundaries of my design. It was originally made for a wall that was horizontally oriented. Arte Para Todos was initially conceived as occurring in Malaga, Spain, but at the last minute moved to Sevilla. So many changes had to occur.
I had to figure out a way to incorporate the rest of the building, with just a few days left in the project, compounded by fact that the taller lifts were now in demand by the other muralists.
I decided that I would continue the blocks upward and they would fade into the color of the building. The main focus would still occur at the bottom 16 feet of the wall. The orbs of light and the hawks continue upward throughout the piece in a double helix fashion.
Volunteer Sandra was a huge help in the last few days with preparing and blocking in the rest of the mural quickly.
The finished work complimented by a similarly themed piece by British born artist Bella Willshire
On the very last day of work a massive tour group was assembled to walk through the neighborhood and dedicate each site. It was a truly amazing memory, 2 weeks that I will never forget.
On one of our evening tours of the Alcázar of Seville this group photo was taken. It features just about every last person responsible for the event. Click this image to see the website of the event, which prominently features every artist and their work.