Burgandy Viscosi has advice for artists who want to expand the scale of their work by painting large murals on public spaces.
“More than anything, always remember the size and scale of the piece you’re working on,” says the artist, who recently completed a fabulously colorful painting of mountains, water and various bike parts on the wall abutting the HUB Community Bike Shop. Additional tips include making a rough draft (or three), using exterior house paint for larger areas (it’s more cost-effective that way) and, of course, painting when the weather’s decent. Other than that, she likes to keep her options open.
“For me, it’s more of a free-flow once I have the rough draft,” she says. “I leave room for creativity. Once you’re actually working on the piece, your own creativity will bring in the greatest elements of it.”
Those walking on the South Bay Trail or stopping by the HUB to tune up their rides or look for new ones will want to take a closer look at Viscosi’s creation. A first glance highlights the sun coming up behind a snowy mountain, but a second look confirms the bright orb is actually a series of intertwining spokes, as are the bright yellow sunflowers with bike handle stalks that dip toward the water.
Viscosi says it wasn’t until she started interacting in the space that she knew she wanted to create a Pacific Northwest scene based largely on bicycle parts. HUB director Kyle Morris had given her complete freedom to paint what she wanted—and traded a couple bikes for her labor—so the project was hers to do with what she wanted.
In the case of those who will be taking part in Allied Arts’ upcoming “Alley Arts: Elements” mural project taking place Oct. 5 in the newly repaved alley behind the Cornwall Avenue gallery, the parameters of design will also come with room for expression.
Four artists—Ellen Clark, Cecily Fosso, Jason Darling, and Rhiannon Pereira—will be given themes of water, air, earth and fire. From there, they’ll outline the themes and techniques for the murals they’ve been assigned.
That’s where the public comes in. Each artist will work with community members (who don’t have to be artists) to guide the project toward completion. Various artistic mediums and dimensional components will be utilized, and the end result will hopefully remain on the alley walls for years to come—and deter those who think spray-painting their monikers on the wall is cool.
The event is part of Arts Crush, a month-long festival happening throughout the Puget Sound that offers opportunities to participate in visual art, theater, music, literature, dance, film and more.
“Arts Crush reawakens the senses by engaging people in the arts in unique ways; through hands-on participation, peeking behind the scenes, or experiencing art in unexpected places,” organizers say.
Viscosi, a traveling artist who’s a new transplant to Bellingham, wasn’t aware of the event when told about it, but she thinks it’s a good idea.
“I love mixing nature elements with art and urban living,” she says of mural painting. “It reminds you of your community around you.”
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