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Art is Life Mural: Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Special thanks to HK Walls for giving me the opportunity to participate in the Street Art Festival. Thanks also to all the volunteers and especially, Salome Tam and Michelle Pardini for their invaluable assistance and friendship.

Mural Production

Based on my portfolio and 20+ years of painting experience, I was selected to participate in the HK Walls Street Art Festival 2019. HK Walls is a nonprofit organization that selects local and international artists to transform and enrich HK neighborhoods into more aesthetically pleasing and inspiring places to live.

My contribution to the festival is a mural located on the outer wall of the Sheng Kung Hui Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. I drew inspiration from the importance of my own education and chose to paint something that would speak to the many young people who would see the mural every day on their way to and from school. The mural is a faux pop-up art gallery wherein a creature made solely of red ribbon stands on top of a cardboard box, peering into one of the framed paintings. Within the frames are blue skies and the repeating, circular phrase “…Art is Life is Art...” The creature reads the inscription “Cogito ergo sum,” which is a reference to the influential adage attributed to Rene Descartes. In doing so, the creature discovers and generates itself via its interaction with Art, exemplifying not only the power and import of Art, but the ability of every individual to empower themselves and alter their own lives. 

During the process of creating the mural, I interacted with residents and answered a variety of questions about the meaning of the mural and its design and creation. I was touched by the number of people who stopped to talk with me and to appreciate and reflect on the meaning of the mural, the transformation of the neighborhood, and the role of Art generally. Overall, the community was very supportive and proud to have artists transforming their neighborhood and many thanked me personally for enriching their community.

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This mural, seen here mounted with a painted frame, was also featured on the cover of the South China Morning Post's Post Magazine on August 11,2019 in Hong Kong.

This mural is located on the outer wall of the Sheng Kung Hui Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School in Wan Chai in the Morrison Hill Neighborhood.

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I chose to paint a box within the mural because the walkway where the mural is is often populated with boxes. The painted box adds to the intrusive nature of the painting, making it seem possible that the creature was on its way home or to school like many passersby, but stopped to admire the art and in doing so became transformed. This is, of course, what I hope is possible for all passersby. 

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On the left is a preliminary sketch and on the right is an image of the wall prior to transformation. Notice the vent in the wall has been incorporated into the image to create a  three-dimensional effect.

Art is Adventure: Rundle Train Station Mural

I am honored to have been selected to create a mural as part of a revitalization project for Calgary Transit in collaboration with the BUMP festival Calgary.

 

The mural concept is based on a pitcher plant, which is a carnivorous plant residing in bogs. The type which grows in Canada is the Sarracenia purpurea, commonly referred to as the purple or northern pitcher plant; it is one of the 18 species of carnivorous plant species in Canada. Due to the limited available nutrition in bogs, these plants have developed pitcher like structures which allow them to hold water and attract insects to their lethal interior ponds which double as stomachs. The pitcher plant was chosen as Newfoundland and Labrador's Provincial Flower more than one hundred years ago by Queen Victoria. These plants are also found on Newfoundland and Labrador pennies.

 

The pitcher plant depicted in the mural is a mobile, yellow variant foraged from the surreal wilds of the popsurreal imagination which has packed a bag and decided to wait for a train at Rundle station as part of an adventure across Canada. 

Murals

Completed October 2, 2023

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