Large-scale, site-specific artwork is a broad enough category to include more than a few novel adventures. Last month, TRG, an architecture and interior design firm, hired me to create a series of paintings for their new open office space in San Mateo. Their signature strength is contemporary home design, so I embraced a new creative process and style to deconstruct the contemporary design and celebrate it on these six foot by six foot canvases.
I first met Leslie Lamarre, co-owner of TRG, in 2010, when she hired me to paint a New York Yankees graffiti mural for a teenage boys room. Her design for the room went on to win many awards. Knowing a good thing when I see it, I put to use all of her good ideas for my sons room, installing turf instead of carpet, painting a Giants graffiti mural and continuing a grey and orange theme throughout. I think it was the prior context of working together that gave her the confidence that I could pull off the artwork that would be a centerpiece for the TRG office, which includes their design studio where they bring clients.
I opted to create these paintings onsite, and proximity was vital to the project. The whole the office, fourteen creatives total, all participated in some way to the outcome. Co-owner Randy Grange and Staff Architect Yossi Zinger provided me with dozens of hand drawn architectural concepts from past projects that I decoupaged onto the canvas with the help of Whitner Grange, the founders’ teenage son. Ed Brauer, project manager, provided me with a list of key words that they use in their design process. J. Michael McGinn on the interior design team showed me what was trending in contemporary interior design. I felt like a spy, taking mental note of the colors, textures, and patterns that I wanted to incorporate into the artwork. Others simply stopped by to see the progress and through conversation I found new inspiration. For example, when my client, Leslie, came in and commented that one of the circles looked like a ring froma coffee mug. Although that wasn’t my intention with the circle, I realized coffee is probably a key component to the creative process in the office, so the coffee rings stayed and surfaced a few other places.
Here is a short video about the collaboration:
A highlight of the project was the process of experimentation. That is just the technical term for play. I picked up materials from the local art store I had never tried before like gels, coarse molding paste, micaceous oxide, pearl mica, and experimented with new colors like Titan Buff and Fluid Iridescent Sliver. I spent a week in my studio, testing out paint effects on sample paintings. I experimented with a palette knife, carving words into the paint using a sculpture tool, and laying the canvases down to perfect drip and splatter techniques.
I am grateful to Leslie and the TRG office for simultaneously trusting in the creative process and for your participation in the process! And for letting me take over your warehouse for two weeks. I figured out towards the end that the whole office could hear me singing along to my music while I painted. I am loud and untalented as a singer, so I feel a bit sheepish about that. I am also grateful to Bay Area Stretcher Bars for the sturdy custom canvases and Miss Magic Lantern for the photos and video. It takes a village.
Next week I am headed to the new Millenium Tower in Boston to paint at the Japanese restuarant Michael Mina is opening there. I love the diversity of styles that my work takes me through. And places! Hey universe, keep it coming!
All my best,