I have finished the three story mural, a 42 foot woman I have lovingly named Grace. I began and completed painting with the help of several wonderful volunteers from the Cortland community. It was a labor of love, and between my work schedule and the weather, I was able to dedicate about 60 hours over the course of a month into the completion of the Cortland Corset Company mural.
It was not an easy task. This is my largest and most complicated project to date. It was an exciting challenge. The building is 150 years old, with problems just as old, textures that had be be worked around or integrated into the design. I ended up live streaming through Facebook so that I could share my process and progress as well as use it as a very necessary tool to assist in free handing the design. I was able to see what I was doing in more reasonable proportions so that I could get the lines and details to fall more accurately while accommodating for the architecture. I chose to free hand instead of using a grid because of the nature of the building insisted on lending its own narrative. It wasn't possible to have a true translation from my original two dimensional digital mock up (which was easy to create without the limitations of reality) without accounting for the architecture itself and over a century of erosion. Also projection of details to trace was not possible due to severe light pollution. Some proportions were exaggerated to make the narrative stronger in working with the architecture. It was a community project involving many hands telling a single story. The story is what I am interested in telling, not perfection. I hope there will be many more stories to be told by and in the community, and hopefully this project spurs such inspiration for others.
I have to say, I have been overjoyed by the positive response that the project has received. So many people have been inspired by it, which was ultimately the whole point of it all. As I was working, folks that could see me on the lift painting from Port Watson Street would swing in and check out it. My original Facebook live video has reached nearly 5,000 people, and even reaching beyond to my connections outside of the CNY area. Many people stopped in and took pictures of the project in progress, overlapping their own narrative to the story I have been weaving with this character. I had high schoolers, Tompkins Cortland Community College students dropping in to paint or take pictures to document, local emerging artists and community members who just wanted to get involved all come out and participate. It has been shared farther than I could have imagined, so I am grateful for that. The Cortland Standard has continuously come out to document and share the progress of the mural as well. I am hoping that through this project, more artists will be inspired in the area resulting in more visual and public arts through the future Crown City Artworks Project. I want people to find a place to participate in beautifying and bettering the communities they are living in.
If you want to see more progress photos and the live stream videos of the project in progress, please go to: www.facebook.com/cortland.corset.company.mural.and.restoration