This mural was a partnership between myself, Jane Molstad of the McCauley Revitalization Strategy, and representatives from Lucki's Exercise Equipment, a local business with mural desires. The designated mural wall had been constantly hit with graffiti over the years, to the point where it was one of the most problematic locations in the neighbourhood, and was a real eyesore. As graffiti artists typically respect mural artwork, it was decided to place a mural there.
In discussing potential subjects for the mural, I was delighted to hear a west coast underwater scene suggested, and we all quickly agreed. As an avid diver and free diver I dream of painting scenes like this. I set out to include all of my favourite underwater animals that I grew up thinking about on the west coast, as I wanted to inspire passers by to wonder about this amazing underwater world. Perhaps my most important goal as an artist is giving the public a bright window into nature and wildlife, one that makes their day more colourful and leaves them thinking about other species besides our own.
The work surface and location of the mural presented a real challenge. A fence protected most of the designated wall but not all of it, ending on the wall itself. The most visible portion of the wall was in very rough shape and difficult to paint on, enough to warrant painting on panels. As the surface had windows and other complexities I decided to design a mural that incorporated panels as design elements in the painting. After a few sketches we chose a final concept that rounded the panels into rock like shapes to look like they were coming out of the wall, while also containing the most detailed and important elements of the mural.
This was a very interesting approach and meant that I would outline the panels on the wall, paint the background, install the panels, and then touch up the wall around the panels to bring everything together. It was important for me to be as accurate as possible in portraying the types of wildlife as accurate as possible so that the whole scene could exist in real life. From left to right some of the animals and flora painted were: orcas, bull kelp, moon and comb jellies, white plumed anemones, sitka shrimp, grunt sculpin, lingcod, red rock crab, various limpets, chitons, anemones, starfish and brittle stars, quillback rockfish, wolf eels, alabaster nudibranch, salps, goosneck barnacles, black rockfish, decorated warbonnet, and giant pacific octopus.
I am available for freelance. Can't wait for the next exciting project! Could be yours?