Recently I was wired a large sum of money from someone across the continent that trusted me to show up and create magic in the form of art. Folks, meet Chris Carver. He took a decrepit thirty-year-old Olympic swim center and, battling frogs and turtles in the mucky pools, working through lightning storms, and dealing with miles of strict building code, built three pools and one very large firewall.
Chris is a renaissance contractor who repurposed parts of the original swim center and turned them in to art, engraved tiles as a fundraiser for the project, and is currently constructing a rain powered wind chime for the center – from repurposed materials, of course. This visionary aquatic superhero didn’t flinch when he saw the massive sixty-foot wide firewall he had been required by code to build. A mural, of course! However, and quite surprisingly, painting the mural was outside his skill set. So, he took a leap and brought out a “lady from California”.
Working by a pool in 90 degrees plus humidity, I took the liberty of working in my bathing suit and jumping in the pool every couple hours (research!) I’ve come to terms with the fact that every item of clothing I own will eventually get paint on it, it’s just a matter of when. I just never expected to move my bikini to the paint clothes pile.
Some of you might remember that about 18 months ago I featured a mural in my newsletter that I painted at the Swimoutlet.com conference room. Chris saw this mural online, and that is how I got the Raleigh job. Here is that mural:
What blows me away is that 18 months ago, the swim outlet mural was my best work ever. I was so proud. Now compare them. The progress is apparent. This continual, natural evolution of my craft fascinates me. I have no idea what I might be capable of next time I show up to a wall. I just show up, and the art takes care of itself.
People sometimes say, “Well, you are talented”. If they only knew! To illustrate my innate artistic abilities, I am going to embarrass myself and show you a mural I painted at age 30, after I had been a full time artist for three years.
It’s okay, you can giggle. Is that a blue turtle in the boy’s hand? Talented might not be the first word that comes to your mind, though, right? I am sure if you saw my artwork three years prior to this piece, you might have encouraged me to keep my day job. My singular focus helped me ignore the concerned looks of friends and family. I loved to paint, and was determined to pursue it. Now compare my happy group of children with this commission I painted for David Troyer last year, a Christmas gift for his wife:
What a difference 10 years make. I am living proof that talent is overrated (read the book By Geoffrey Colvin). We really have no idea what we are capable of when we start out down a path. I think enthusiasm and perseverance trump talent. We will work hard at what we love. After many, many hours of effort, we can surprise even ourselves.
Speaking of surprising ourselves, I just finished a big piece at Stanford University. I think it is my best mural yet. But I will spill the beans on that project in next month’s newsletter…
When I was in Raleigh on the fourth of July, I crashed the Oakwood neighborhood block party without knowing a soul. They had an amazing spread of home made food, and everyone was decked out in patriotic attire for the annual march around the block. I marched along, waving my flag, making friends, surrounded by children and pets and smiles, glad to be an American. I spent the evening with new friends, lighting chinese lanterns and sipping wine as we watched the fireworks from the porch of a new friend and fellow artist, Madonna Phillips. Check out her lovely work! Thanks for including me, Oakwood!
In my last newsletter, I mentioned I was headed to a conference in Portland. I got an e-mail a few weeks later from a woman in San Diego who reads my newsletters: she was headed to the same conference and maybe we could meet up?
It was both euphoric and strange to meet someone for the first time who had been been following my newsletter from the beginning. I loved hanging out with Elsa because she gave me a rock star introduction to everyone we met, “This is Morgan, I have been following her for 10 years…” but also because there was an immediate connection to this other peson who is a rock star in her own right. She followed un unpredicatable path to becoming a space engineer, currently in charge of the photography on the NASA Mars mission.
So, skoll, Elsa! Usually it is the other way around, but you were first a fan, and now a friend! Life is amazing.
GAVIN AUNG THAN
It was such a privilege to meet Gavin Aung Than at the World Domination Summit in Portland! I have been a fan of his Zen Pencils for a few years. Here are some of my favorite comic-inspired renditions of his:
Morgan Bricca is a mural artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her clients run the gamut from professional creatives, including architects and designers to building owners, school administrators and community advocates. When she is not making art, Morgan enjoys sipping boba tea with her kids and taking naps on the couch.