Do Murals Get Titles?

It's safe to say that my project with the Sentimentalist gave me the fever. That fever being the urge to work on large scale walls. I've fallen in love with it because it challenges my eye as much as it challenges my body. I'm forced to examine my mark in relation to human scale, to see it in terms of how you walk up to and experience it. My dear friend Rachael recently moved into a new studio for her company Neva Opet and being that she's someone who completely advocates for my artistic freedom and independence, she gave me a wall and let me do whatever I wanted. What I wanted was to create something that honors Rachael and the mark she's making on the world. The only place for me to start was with her appreciation of art history and groundbreaking female artists of the past (if not in aesthetic, at least in spirit). But even though I had that, I was totally stuck on what the hell to do for a while.

To be completely honest, I was incredibly scared and didn't know what to do for weeks. Because Rachael is a close friend of mine and a designer I highly respect, her visual opinions matter to me tenfold. I know she knows quality when she sees it and I know she knows good art, so I had to really take a look at myself and ask... am I creating something pretty or am I creating something meaningful? There is value in both, but it wasn't enough for me to just do the same thing I've done before.

I had to move forward though so I started to collect imagery from artists she reveres and names her own bag designs after: Lee Bontecou, Bridget Riley, Louise Bourgeois, and most importantly Ana Mendieta. Of course I also looked at some of my own heroines like Julie Mehretu and Lucy Dodd. I knew the mural was going to be mostly black and white with a mixture of mapping and gesture - but it was looking at Ana Mendieta's work that led me to a realization: I decided I was going to try painting the mural with my hands. Yep, my own two hands. The more I thought about it, the more it felt necessary. I wanted to see what happens when I take the tools away - could I create the same movement and grace with my body alone? I wasn't going to know until I tried.


I hesitantly dipped my fingers into the latex paint and started swiping away at the wall. Using my fingers, the side of my hands, the palms, and brushing away in different strokes, I started to understand what was happening visually and mentally for me. It felt like therapy, like breaking the rules and letting go. It was questionable at first, but then the composition revealed itself. It began to evoke stormy weather, rocky seas, and the swirl of media going on in all of our heads right now.

Eventually I had to take it back to brushes and tools like tape, as it was the only way to achieve a sense of control and completion. The stability of these marks and straight lines are the tightropes keeping everything together, making it all make sense. And that's truly what my work is always about whether I explicitly say so or not - that delicate mental and compositional balance. We're all just a couple breaks away from losing it. We keep ourselves glued together with small and ritualistic coping techniques, delicate seams holding us together.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published