This week I am working on a client project for an interior mural in a suburban bookstore. The bookstore owner had a specific subject already in mind, and she was dead set on it: the goddesses of wisdom, from a variety of ancient cultures. Athena, of Greek myth, will go on the ceiling; Seshat, of Egyptian myth, will go on the wall by the door; Saraswati, the Hindu deity of wisdom, directly across from Seshat. (Athena study, below.)
It’s a tricky project for a variety of reasons. (For starters, trying to paint three mythical figures from ancient lore using one cohesive style is is a challenge.) And how to be original with such famous subjects? I ended up hiring models and doing pose sessions, and making original paintings to fit the job. But that’s not what this post is about.
This post is about the actual execution of the mural…. I’ve never done a ceiling piece before, so I’m recording the practical things I learn here, for posterity.
Tomorrow, I will start with setup and materials. On day two, I will discuss perspective and gridding, drawing not just on this ceiling experience but also on my life as a traveling chalk artist (eg, floor painting—which has similar perspective challenges). We will see if there is a day three post, depending on what else I learn in the process!
The Kinnickinnic Avenue BID, the non-profit organization tasked with supporting business and development along its namesake “main street” in Bay View, is proud to announce a multi-mural project on five commercial buildings on KK Avenue. Discussions are underway with several interested building owners, the final decision on locations is TBD.
The mural project is just one aspect of the Kinnickinnic Avenue street enhancement project, which aims to stimulate neighborhood growth throughout the length of the KK commercial corridor. Inspired by last year’s Black Cat Alley mural project on the East Side, the Kinnickinnic Avenue BID Board voted to set aside a portion of their streetscape budget to sponsor five local artists to create large scale murals along Kinnickinnic Avenue.
“Bay View is a hub for artists and creativity in our city and we want to reflect that in the KK Avenue streetscape,” says Mary Ellen O’Donnell, a member of the Board of Directors. “Street art is a great way to stimulate interest in a neighborhood as well as transform a harsh urban landscape with powerful and beautiful images.” Along the way, the project committee had the idea to choose an all-female roster of artists. “We were making these difficult choices right around the time of the Women’s March, earlier this year,” recalls Toni Spott, KK BID Streetscape committee member. “So many of the artists under consideration were great, and at some point we realized that an overwhelming number of them were women. We decided to make that the unifying theme of our mural project.”
The KK BID hired Wallpapered City, a Milwaukee-based agency led by Stacey Williams-Ng, to lead the project. Williams-Ng was the program director of the Black Cat Alley, and is a muralist herself. The agency was formed to help connect business owners and community groups to the international community of artists, helping with all aspects along the way such as logistics, promotions, funding and copyright negotiations.
The final roster of artists for the Bay View Street Canvas project includes Jenny Anderson, Bay View-based painter; Nova Czarnecki, Milwaukee-based painter; Rozalia Hernandez-Singh, local artist whose recent mural along the Beerline Trail celebrates the new Milwaukee flag design; Jenny Jo Kristan, muralist whose work has been featured at both Sky High Gallery (exterior wall) and the Black Cat Alley; and Dena Nord, Bay View-based artist with work featured in the Little Free Public Library project.
About the Kinnickinnic Avenue BID:
The KK BID aims to support the local businesses and community groups within our district; facilitate closer cooperation between all those who have invested their hearts, time and money into the KK Ave corridor, and encourage productive developments and enhancements along KK that embody the unique qualities that make Bay View the neighborhood we love. For more info please visit http://kkbid44.com/
About Wallpapered City LLC:
Wallpapered City is a consulting agency specializing in sourcing artists for large-scale art projects. Headed by a team of experienced professional artists, the agency connects business owners and community groups to the international community of artists, helping with all aspects along the way such as logistics, promotions, funding and copyright negotiations. For more info please visit http://wallpapered.city/
To arrange an interview with any of the artists, or to request images, contact Mary Ellen O’Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Stacey Williams-Ng at email@example.com