Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shine Mural - and Philadelphia Mural Arts Program's tallest scaffolding to date!

 The mural was painted entirely inside the studio.  This is a section of the N row in progress.  You can see there are ten 5'x5' sheets tacked to the wall.

 A view of the scaffolding from across Lehigh Ave.

 Lucia is drawing level lines on the primed wall that form the grid that the 5' x 5' sheets are then pasted to.
The scaffolding sits from 1.5' to 2.5' away from the wall, so you have to do some crazy moves to prevent yourself from falling sometimes.  This is Erin.  She's looking a little awkward but she's probably something like 6 stories off the ground only wearing a hardhat.

 Looking down (see the three peoples tiny hands working on other levels of the scaffolding?)
 and looking up at the basket of the boom lift/the letter "S".

Below are other people's photos:
The view from the boom lift, which was used to reach parts of the wall that were higher than 8 stories

These two murals are a part of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program's Porch Light Initiative, which is a pretty neat program:

The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) introduce The Porch Light Initiative, a three-year initiative that situates art and human connection at the heart of recovery and healing in three North Philadelphia neighborhoods
Together with individuals receiving treatment for behavioral health challenges, we are building teams of behavioral health service providers, artists, and community residents to address trauma in our most underserved communities alongside the associated issues of drug addiction, mental illness, and other behavioral health issues.

Rise and Shine are two murals of the three murals (the third is the top image of the above image) of the North Philadelphia Beacon Project.:
Created as part of the three year Porch Light Initiative in collaboration with Sobriety Through Out-Patient (S.T.O.P.), the mural The North Philadelphia Beacon Project reflects the creativity and effort of hundreds of community members, S.T.O.P. staff and service recipients, volunteers, and artist James Burns.
The choice of the word RISE evolved from 5 years of work with the recovery community. At roughly 40’ high, on the north-facing wall, the word RISE is visible for miles. Inherent in the word is the idea of recovery. RISE is painted atop a color grid, which houses portraits of community members and participants in the program. Artwork created with the artist and community in weekly workshops is re-presented within the large letters in a collaborative collage form. This collage work also exists on the south-facing wall within the color grid, where the word SHINE is paited at over 80' tall.
Within the color grid lives collage from individual participants.  Inside the large letters are quotes and phrases from the projects' many contributors. The phrases are quotations, segments, and word collages that originated from the workshops and originally lived in participant and artist sketchbooks. Those phrases were later incorporated into the final design. All of the sketches became the support material that gives this large project its rigor, and creates substance that is far greater than the two simple words RISE and SHINE. This breathes new life into the phrase, and begs us all to stop and think about these words in a new way and in a new context.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mural Arts - touching up and finishing RISE

When I got back from Poland I spent a week planning for a trip to Alaska, and then spent a week and a half in Alaska with my mom.  After that, I returned to the mural project I had left behind for the Poland project.  This mural is part of the North Philadelphia Beacon project and can be seen on N. Broad and Lehigh in North Philly.  It was designed by James Burns. It is approximately 250' x 100'.  It'sa big one.

This one is not my photo, but I am told it is the view from the hospital.

You can see some white gaps in the mural - those give away how the mural was put up - 5'x5' pieces of cloth were painted and then aligned to a grid drawn on the wall and then pasted on the wall. I was one of the people responsible for painting over those.  I also helped to seal the mural with an acrylic sealant.

 The view.

 We painted on this 30' swing stage that dangled from the top of the building.  The roof below us is on top of the fourth story of a building, and then we went an additional 5 stories higher than that on the swing stage.

Another view.

How to make a loft

A drawing I made for a friend trying to explain how to make a loft.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fall/Winter Greens Harvest and the end of the hydroponic/greenhouse season for me

Well, last year the greenhouse survived until January with crappy Home-Depot cover-your-boat/motorcycle-plastic and this year it only made it until mid November with proper greenhouse plastic.  We had a few days in a row that never made it above freezing and that did me in. In my defense, this winter is wayyy more severe than last winter, which in comparison didn't even really seem like a winter.  We've already gotten probably a total of two feet in snow (one foot from just a single storm last week) this winter, which I love.  The outlet tubes freeze up since they aren't all that thick and then the tubes will overflow and eventually the reservoir runs dry and my pump could break, so I decided to end the season.  Once the tubes the plants are in freeze solid they can crack some of the endcap seals and it just isn't worth it. 
I am already planning how I will set up the roof garden next spring and I'm excited for that!

Bison Model currently on display at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem MA

 My bison model is currently in an exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. It's in the case with this beautiful old stuffed bison. They had professional art handlers from NYC pick it up, and it was really funny when they arrived at my studio with a 16' box truck... that's what I rent when I have to move the life-sized bison!  But I guess it's the only company car they got.

It's going in the case with the star of the show, this guy:

You can read an article about the bison on the Peabody Essex Museum's website here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Gwoździec Synagogue Replication Project - my summer in Poland

My three summers (and a grand total of six months) of working on this project in Poland (plus four years in the US working on the half-scale model and helping teach some workshops) and it's finally complete!  This is the core exhibition of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews,  a new museum in what was once the Warsaw Ghetto in Warsaw, Poland.  This past summer we worked only on painting the bimah (constructed only using hand tools at Massachusetts College of Art several years ago), which will sit slightly off-center under the ceiling.  This was my first time seeing the ceiling installed (which I didn't help with) and it was absolutely breathtaking!  We always painted flat and not overhead on an actual ceiling, so it was a completely different experience to see it installed and slightly curved. A couple people cried and I couldn't blame them.  After investing so much time and energy into this, it was amazing to be standing under it and looking up.  And to think this is a replica - so something like this actually existed at some time and services were held in it.  I almost had a religious experience being under this thing and I'm not even religious!

This last photo was taken at the opening and isn't mine. Credit goes to Magdalena Starowieyska/Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich.  It shows the top/ second floor of the exhibit.  The timber framed structure of the roof is showing through a cut out.  It is partially shingled.

 The architecture of the museum is absolutely insane!:

 The interior is just as beautiful:

More info here: 

or at the projects facebook page: 

A great short video of a profile of the project by CNN with lots of awesome footage: