Glass Gems is now a mural!
In case you missed my last post, back in June I entered it in Urbana's public art competition called Murals on Glass. Artists were asked to submit images that, if selected, would be printed hugely on adhesive vinyl and adhered to some of the windows in downtown Urbana. Mine was one of three winning entries, and it was installed today. It's at street level on the windows of the Urbana Business Association (across the street from the Cinema Gallery).
This afternoon all three murals went up one at a time, a process I watched happen via the Urbana Public Arts Program's Facebook page. Murals by Larry Steinbauer (left) and Lisa Kesler (right) now decorate downtown Urbana's parking deck. Jeff and I hopped in the car and drove into Urbana to see my mural.
After saying hello to the two young men who were in charge of the installations--I wish I would have caught their names!--we grabbed a couple of pastries from Mirabelle, the bakery across the street. Not wanting to breathe down the guys' necks, we sat on a bench, ate our treats, and watched them tack it up from a respectful distance.
I was a little disappointed in the quality of the print at first. "It's too light!" I complained to Jeff, who agreed with me, but I'd had nothing to do with the expensive printing process, and it was too late to do or say anything at that point. "Maybe it'll be darker after they finish...? Maybe they'll burnish it somehow...?" I normally groan with delight whenever I eat any Mirabelle product, but I could barely taste my Bavarian cream and chocolate brioche (Yeah, treat yourself right, K--I know what you're thinking). We watched them continue to tack up my washed-out mural.
Satisfied with the placement of the panels, they began to peel the white backing from each one, starting with the panel on the left side, and we heaved sighs of relief. Of course! The white backing was influencing the colors! The left side looked a lot more like my original painting. We crossed the street to get a closer look. In the photo above, you can see the white backing on the center and right panels.
Things fell into place quickly--the installation took no more than thirty minutes. A few Urbana Busniness Association employees left their offices to watch. I told them I felt bad about blocking their windows for a year, but I was told that the mural would be completely transparent from the inside. No kidding? Jeff and I went inside to take a look.
Indeed that was the case! The woman with the camera is standing in front of the finished, left-side panel with the red gem. The middle panel, still in the process of being positioned, had its white backing intact and blocked the view. Jeff and I couldn't believe how perfectly transparent the image was going to be.
And here's what made that transparency possible: thousands (millions?) of tiny holes in the vinyl. Above is a close-up section of the red gem.
The guys said that they had saved my mural for last because it was the smallest one and no scaffolding was involved. They used wooden, rectangular tools to smooth and adhere the vinyl to the windows and trimmed some of the excess with utility and Exacto knives. They stuffed the scraps into a bag. I coveted the scraps and fought the urge to grab some and make them into sticky bracelets or something.
I applauded their work and thanked them for doing such a great job. Apparently this vinyl will be durable enough to last an entire year, so if you're in downtown Urbana between now and August 2013, stop by and check it out! On Monday, August 13, an installation celebration will be held at 4:30 next to the parking deck. I'll be there along with Lisa Kesler, Larry Steinbauer, and the nice people who made this possible, including Urbana mayor Laurel Lunt Prussing, Public Arts Commission chair Patricia Sammann, and Urbana Business Association Executive Director Cynthia Johnson. Again, if you're in the area, I'd love it if you could be there.
Thank you so much, Urbana Public Arts Program!
PS Speaking of murals, someone from Calabasas, CA ordered a massive canvas print of Glass Gems from me on Imagekind a couple of weeks ago. Imagekind doesn't tell me the names of my customers (that's really the only complaint I have about the site), so if you, one of my readers, are the person who purchased the print, oh my goodness, you made me shriek with glee yesterday! Thanks a lot, and I hope you love the print! Hey, let's all buy prints of Glass Gems right now, what do you say?