Sometimes Life sends a special request by email: "will you participate in a public art project?"
I reply... OK! Even though it's totally out of my comfort zone.
What Do I Paint?
I read an article about the spiny soft-shell turtle which is doing well in the London area, but has moved onto the endangered species list. I thought this might be a suitable subject for the project.
After the design was approved and the rain subsided, I biked over to my box on Riverside Drive at Wilson (south side) in order to finally begin.
Day 1: The first dilemma: although I was planning on painting the street-facing side of the box, that side did not seem to want to be painted – it has 2 metal clasps on it, as well as some stickers that made me wonder whether it was the best idea to paint my text heavy design on that side, and plus it was super dirty and I didn't have enough cloths with me to clean it.
So I started working on the back. The next challenge (and probably the reason why vinyl wrapping wouldn't have worked) was that the boxes are ridged! Ok...
During that first day, a few people interacted with me, e.g., "you missed a spot!" I must've looked grumpy and uncomfortable because an extremely earnest Dutch man on a bike stopped to give me unsolicited advice. I also met some very nice artist fellows – Ronald & Martin – who chatted with me about abstract art, which was delightful. They were also very positive about the mural itself, which was REALLY appreciated at the time.
Day 2: By the time I arrived on site, I had decided to go ahead and paint my design on the front of the box as originally planned. But - ahh! Here is what awaited me when I showed up in the morning! Oh my God it smelled bad. I continued on painting the backside of the box because I had kind of dressed up a bit, and hauling heavy garbage containers didn't seem to be in my job description at that exact moment. But I knew I'd have to figure out what to do with the front of the box. After all, I couldn't just leave it like this!
After some hours of painting I had made progress. I went and cleaned my brushes at my friend and neighbour Grace's house (thanks Grace!). Afterward, I kept painting until I started to get tired, and my arm was shaking a bit. I went home to clean my brushes again, and then by then I had an idea what to do for the front. Here's today's work completed by the end of the day : )