University of Minnesota Duluth - Tweed Museum
What is the inspiration for the blue entity?
I am writing a story about the challenges of growing up in a world one doesn't feel they belong in. However, inside a fantastical place they discover, reality is much different. The protagonist meets influential characters through their travels as they learn to apply the knowledge gained.
The blue entity is a character from the story. She is where the sky and earth touch. What we call atmosphere, they refer to as something entirely different.
What inspired the story?
I was inspired by my childhood and the struggles I faced growing up. I was born outside of a cultured community and spent most of my youth alone skill tasking. I faced many challenges one wouldn't want a child to face ranging from social uniqueness to complications stemming from isolation like hyper-sensitivity to food and foreign concepts.
It wasn't until I was much older that I started seeing that the struggles I faced and I noticed they weren't the same as most of those around me. I began observing my life from a third persons perspective and this is where the inspiration began.
Did you plan the design ahead of time?
When the Tweed Museum director Anja Chavez asked me to fill the space with a design of my own, I found myself dreaming of a rough design I had scribbled on my iPad two years prior that I had always intended to go back to, but hadn't found the right moment.
Clearly, this piece knew when its voice should be heard and spoke to me when the time called.
What was the process for painting this mural?
There was an extensive preparation and checkpoint journey before any paint ever touched the walls. Many hand went into funding this installation and unanimous approval was needed to proceed.
We began with priming and laying the base coat of paint in the design, covering all the white spaces. From there, I call the process "populating". I sketched out the main elements of the design and began filling, shading and detailing until a finished product was achieved.
How did you get this opportunity, and what did that feel like?
I have thought about this quite a bit. Before I was presented this opportunity, I was working on self-improvement in my career and involvement in the community. I believe making myself available to assist my community with projects got a few eyes on my work, and then right place/right time I think had a bit to do with it, too. When I was asked to paint the elevator, I hadn't quite grasped how incredible this experience and opportunity would be for both Conor and myself not only in the moment, but for both of our careers as well.
There are very few paintings like this in the entire world, and we are proud to be part of something that could last longer than us. It is a blessing and an honor to have an original concept from my imagination permanently installed in a museum, and even more incredible to have utilized such a unique canvas as an elevator.
I'm looking for more elevators to experiment with.