I was fortunate to be selected as one of 5 artists to produce art for a new high school here in Juneau, now named "Thunder Mountain High School". My part of the art being produced evolved though a wonderful and stimulating couple of workshop collaboration sessions with the architects and other artists.
Where I am now is producing art for 4 mural spaces, one within each of the individual classroom wings. Rather than one large solid rectangular mural surface I am creating lots of separate pieces that are cut loosely around the figure or figures within. I have about 60 individuals as my primary figures, taken from photo sessions in the last week of school in the spring of 2007. I took over 2000 pictures and had to cull the best, most active poses and then balance the images to best reflect the gender and ethnic balance of the school population. The pieces will be mounted on the wall (a wonderful rugged split block surface) at various depths on the surface with some overlap and some stand along shapes. The background areas around the figures will feature collaged ephemera collected from students, mostly on locker clean out day!!!
I used a computer projection system to get the figures onto my panels without distorting the proportions. (I had to determine the average size of a face since each photo was a different scale.) The panels are Alucobond, a sign material., I ordered from Laird Plastics in Seattle and had barged up here to Juneau – 5′ x 10′ panels!!!) I intially projected my figures on the panels, then cut them into pieces with a jigsaw. Next I peeled the protective film off, and sanded the surface with 180 grit sandpaper (non-clogging). Then cleaned off the surface and put 2 separate coats of white gesso on the pieces.
(I performed a scratch adhesion test to determine what surface prep was needed to have the acrylic gesso, and paint, adhere to the surface.)
Then I brought the pieces into my basement studio area, and once again used the computer projection system to get the first lines in. I used ultramarine blue acrylic paint to put in my first lines. I’m getting excited!!! See the High School Art photo album for initial images!