A couple of months ago I found out about an interesting opportunity, a request for proposals for decorative construction hoarding. The New Central Library here in Calgary is being built, and its located in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of the East Village. The job required an artist to come up with a design to cover 500′ of construction hoarding, which is quite a task. My concept is a timeline of the East Village, culminating in the New Central Library, showing it as the pinnacle of Calgary’s achievements so far. At first I approached this all wrong. I assumed I could do one long illustration, detailed and refined… but the timeframe for the final artwork made that impossible. I would have less than a week to complete the work and send it to get printed, and that simply would not be able to happen with something so ambitious. I struggled with simplifying. At one point I did a sample painting to see if I could, indeed, complete all of the illustrations by the deadline. It looked terrible. I did some tiny landscapes to try and work things out… and finally it clicked. The paintings I did were minuscule, 4cm x 10cm in size, but I scanned them at 2400 dpi, creating a super high res image fit to be printed wall-sized. The fascinating textures you get with watercolour often get lost in large paintings, but when I magnified my tiny illustrations the paint became the subject. Granulation, gradients and brushstrokes were given the spotlight, and the paintings had a freshness to them that I couldn’t achieve before. I only had about 10 days to put together the proposal, and it was a real challenge. Lucky for me, I have an amazing family that helped me at every opportunity. On September 2nd, I received the news that my proposal was the winner. I couldn’t fully believe it until I went in for a meeting and no one revealed a hidden camera. Main stretch of the mural:
Smaller side mural:
After the proposal was approved, the deadline for the project was extended. The past few months have been occupied with painting, revisions and getting the prints made. I worked with the lovely folks at Run Digital here in Calgary to make the panels. I’ll save you the full Yelp review, but they were great to work with, very friendly and exceedingly helpful! About half of the mural is up now, though the second half will be going up in the spring/summer due to the construction timeline. Here’s the East Village’s blog post about it! I want to say a huge thank you to Mike Kerr, Ken Richardson, my family, and the CMLC.
Copyright Serena Malyon 2015