Most of the things I've accomplished as an artist, I've just figured out along the way out of necessity. I don't consider myself anywhere near as organized or professional as I should be. I don't plan ahead enough, I don't set concrete goals for myself. The way I run my art career is actually a lot like the way I create. I make moves, take a risk here and there and then I resolve it through to the end.
When I found out that The Sentimentalist was looking at new spaces (I saw the sneak peeks on Gabi's instastories), I immediately slid into her DMs and said, "you know I'm painting a mural for your new space, right?" Gabi and I had been acquaintances for a while and so it was worth taking a shot in the dark. After all, if she said no then whatever it was just a thought and if she said YES... well, that's what happened. She said yes.
I was presented with a task with parameters - a prompt. And within these boundaries, I was given artistic freedom to do. my. thang. Gabi gave me inspiration pictures and color swatches, with which I merely did a few quick paintings on paper:
From here, she trusted me enough to just... do it. Can you even believe? I didn't mock anything up, I didn't sketch anything out AND it was the first time I was putting paint directly onto walls since college. I have no business being a muralist, but she trusted it was in me to accomplish it. She gave me leftover paint samples from when they were shopping for wall colors and I used these as my palette. From there, all I had to do was start.
I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified. Was I going to be able to fill the space? Was it going to be as good as my work on paper? Will Gabi like it? Will anyone understand why I do what I do? This is why I have to play music when I work; it helps me drown out my own mental doubts and insecurity and lets me reach the part of myself that is intuitive and free. So I turned on my music and I went for it.
I quickly realized that I was going to need to make some big, bold strokes to achieve what I wanted. Gabi talked a lot to me about her design vision for The Sentimentalist, and I wanted this mural to reflect her core values for the brand. So I started to think of this back hallway (all the way in the back, closest to the staff area and office) as the beating heart. The heart of the Sentimentalist.
Artists are in a constant state of balancing their goals with the desires of their clients. There is usually going to be some element of compromise to make things work for everyone. Lucky for me, the laws of attraction means I've thus far attracted like-minded individuals who understand my mark because it aligns with what they want. After the bigger blocks of color started to take shape, my fears sort of dissolved. Sure, I was still a little nervous with each session, but I always just tell myself... it can always be redone. If things go south, you can always just start over.
Glad I didn't have to though. I'm glad that I kept going, and going, and going. Many times I didn't know if I should KEEP going or stop. I had to take a lot of steps back to see what was happening over all. Some sessions were literally me just staring and thinking. In the end, it was the darkness that anchored everything and made it feel complete.
So there you have it. My first real mural in Atlanta lives at The Sentimentalist. I went back to see it earlier this week and I was surprised by how much I loved it. I am really proud of myself.