Jun 13, 2010

Mural 1: New York Asian Women's Center

Project No.1
June 11-13, 2010
NY Asian Women's Center
Children's room of shelter, NYC

May 2010:

After consulting with administrators and resident kids, the final rough sketch (more cartoony than the final product is meant to be) has been completedHighlights will include blooming sunflowers, some frolicking flying fish, majestic mountains, and a subtle rainbow arching through a cloud dotted sky. 

June 11, 2010

In the city anxious to start, I'm about to buy the supplies from Blickart on 1-5 Bond Street needed to start the mural tomorrow.  Within a few hours, I'll have an accurate idea of how much it costs in materials to complete each mural. 

June 12, 2010

With the monstrous rolling suitcase full of paints clattering over the crowded NY sidewalk beside me, I wanted to feel like the artist version of the woman in chocolate: a romantic, rogue, wanderer in search of someone with whom to share her skills.  Instead of running mysteriously into the wind, however, there was a lot of brutish grunting and lugging and pulling (that is, once I began rolling my own bag; Sam did the lugging until the subway).  After walking in the wrong direction twice, I finally located my destination and the blank wall inside designated for art.

This blank wall had several painting obstacles: surface smears of plaster, several outlets/switches, an archway, and a bookshelf attached to the wall.

I taped the area, put down newspaper, moved the cabinet to paint behind it (after all, if they ever decided to move the cabinet, the wall would look strange if it weren't all painted), and devised a chair on top of chair system to reach above and beyond the bookshelf.

One of the five year old kids appeared about an hour into the process - when I was painting the wall a light blue.  He declared that he too could paint on walls like me, and that he should be allowed to help since wall painting was his favorite thing in the world.  Against all artistic intuition, I handed him a brush.

Using white to outline the mountains.

My five year old assistant continued to help throughout most of the day.  This was both hilarious and somewhat stressful for me, but the mural was for the kids who would be using the room, so I wanted him to enjoy the process too.  Exclamations of "cool!" and "wow!" occurred almost as often as I was requested to watch each second of him vigorously running his brush over the wall.  He would often hum to himself as he did it, believing himself a true mistro!


You may be able to see some of his contributions above...


Then my young apprentice switched mediums and decided to take some shots with my camera.

At this point, I've added some color to the flowers, done the clouds, and added a rising sun per his suggestion. He also suggested people, houses, and cars.  I told him I did not think there was room, but he gestured grandly to the other blank walls in the room and declared I had missed a lot of spots.

Here's the rainbow...

Then some small goldfish and a butterfly replaced the rather large bird and fish in the original sketch.

View of the arch.

View of the finished room.  I loved this process! It was extremely satisfying to see the room completely change in less than 24 hours.  Not to mention, I made a new friend who was extremely supportive of my art, always cheery, and unafraid to let his inner artist shine.  I was happy that the mural kept his five year old attention span occupied for three or four hours; his smiles definitely brightened my day, and I hope this mural will brighten many of his days to come.

June 13th, 2010

Today is touch up day and retrieval of paints.  A note to other beginning muralists using acrylic paint, sometimes the painter's tape when pulled up will also pull some of the acrylic with it, so be aware of this when you pull up the tape.  Do it slowly and be prepared to go in with a small brush to make the mural exactly flush with the outlets etc.


  1. WOW this is absolutely gorgeous <3 <3 <3 (also, I just saw chocolate and was thinking something similar recently which scared me a little)

  2. julie -- i'm so impressed. i can't believe you did this in one day! good on you, you make things happen! you are going to brighten so many lives this year. love you girl.

  3. Simply awesome! The mountains look fantastic; like they're dying to be summited. Keep up the good (art)work.

  4. Um I'm like crying. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND GREAT. I can't believe you already did a mural!!! suchhhhhhhh and inspiration. If I was closer to you, I would def apprentice with you.

  5. This is seriously gorgeous Julie. I wish I could see it in person!