The Triangulation Project
Have you ever driven through parts of town and think they could use a little loving to reach their greater potential? Maybe you imagine adding trees and gardens, paint jobs and new windows... ART. We definitely see ART as a part of the solution for the older length of Leavenworth St., in Omaha, and we are working at fixing it up, one wall at a time.
An exciting gallery of public murals growing along Leavenworth and thousands of drivers see them each day. Talented artists, some of whom you'll meet in the video, are adding wonderful flourishes of color to the neighborhood. The Triangulation Project can help proliferate the street art gallery and its stimulation of the local economy and investment.
One of the goals of this project is to put artists to work in the public arts. Public Art projects typically require funding through cumbersome and lengthy grant-writing processes – or, a sponsor willing and able to pay artists what they are worth. This project will give artists a chance to earn a decent wage while having the satisfaction of working in and for the community. It will also be another step towards the proliferation of murals by various artists in the city.
What is most enjoyable about mural painting is how large scale images surprise people as they drive or walk. A mural is not an object like an easel painting. It influences the space where it is seen, creating a thematic backdrop or exerting itself into the public. As a process, painting a mural is a means for people to come together, of generating awareness and of sharing with the community at large.
The Triangulation Project will be located on the West-facing wall of Midwest Photo Pro, a small business owned by Dave Jenkins. Typical of the many walls that slide through the peripheral vision of commuters, it is non-engaging and a bit grungy. Fortunately, it hasn't been vandalized, as are many others down the street. I would like to transform this block of blankness into this:
Design IS Art
Another goal is to show that design can be just as exciting as imagery. When this project is completed, it will bring a new type of visual art – Op Art – into the mix of murals popping up all over Omaha. Potential wall sponsors might be more inclined to have work done to improve their property if they see that a mural does not have to tell a story, make a social statement or have fixed images - that design can be a potent eye-catcher.
I am very practiced in the rules of Realism, and it's great to have the skills to draw what you see. Pure design, however, does not follow the same rules. It is open-ended and challenges the artist to operate solely on visual principles. If you look at my work, you will find that this project is very different than anything else I have done.
You may be familiar with Op Art and a design's potential for stimulating the mind with visual perceptions of movement and illusions of depth. If you stare at the picture of this mural design for a little while and pick any color to focus on, you might see how it moves your eye about the composition. Pick another and see how the dots (triangles) connect in a new pattern or see how diagonal lines come into view! The more you look, the more active the color relationships become!
Wouldn't you like a 12x17" print of the mural design abstract, shown below, printed on photographic paper by Dave Jenkins and designed by me? How about a personalized photograph signed by the crew of this project, expressing thanks to you with big thumbs up? Consider having an original mural design by Mike Girón for whatever wall/space you see potential. These unique rewards are available at different levels of support.
"Triangulation" is a geometrical means of pinpointing a specific location using triangles - like GPS. It's another way of saying "You Are Here!" I would like to make passers-by aware of their surroundings and find a visual celebration, which will hopefully translate to a more positive atmosphere. With as many murals as we have on Leavenworth, a web of connect the dots is beginning to gel - or, triangulate!
Murals are popping up in older areas of Omaha, especially down Leavenworth St., stirring the interests of many artists and the public, alike. It is an exciting sign of shifting of culture in Omaha. Several artists, including some youth, are wanting to work on the Triangulation project. Locals I have asked like the idea, especially nearby owners for whom I have painted murals.
Through a Facebook fundraiser for the mural, about $700 has been raised and another $575 from a crowd-sourcing event at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art. Called FEA$T, it was an opportunity to pitch community projects and have a popular vote decide on where the kitty should go. This project caught second place by only one vote shy! So, I take it as a sign that local, community-minded people like the overall idea, which is the growth of an "arts district" on Leavenworth St. in Midtown, Omaha. I am thankful that they contributed to this mural project as a step in that direction.
This year, my friend and collaborator, Richard Harrison, and I received recognition awards from the City of Omaha Urban Planning Department and the Nebraska Governor's office. It was for the Avanza Mural, which transformed a long, grungy, graffiti-prone wall on the Leavenworth St. stretch, into a parade of tropical color, fruit and veggies common to the Latin market and traditional Mexican cut-paper designs by elementary students. We get compliments on it every day.
This project aims to open new doors of opportunity for artists and the community to lift the face and spirits of an area in need of some loving care.
What will your donation do for this project?
Materials. It buys paint, which costs almost $50 per gallon! That adds up quickly. The one can of clear coat costs $75 per gallon. The wall needs a little fix-up and preparation to be ready for painting.
Artists. Most of the remainder goes to labor, which, with all sources combined, will pay each artist about $10-15/hour (more, of we exceed our goal). Some of the artists have never painted a mural before. Maybe they will view it as a profitable art form.
What I have noticed about collaboration is that people help each other during the process. They are generally kind and enjoy each other’s company, giving advice and motivating each other. By the end, everyone steps back, nodding with smiles, with a sense of achievement, pride and a memorable shared experience. The mural stands as a reminder for them and a gift to the community. It's a great feeling. I hope you can join us in achieving it.
Risks and challenges
I have been painting mural-scale work since 1992, when I worked on Mardi Gras parade floats in New Orleans, and I have worked as a commercial painting contractor. The materials and tasks involved are very much within my practice. I also taught a university-level mural course. Usually, I work with another experienced mural painter, my friend, Richard Harrison. We are able to meet OSHA safety and lead-abatement standards and anticipate issues of material and process.
Weather is the most unpredictable challenge. 100+ degree drought temps slowed us down to two months, last year on the Avanza mural - a 275 foot long, 10' high wall with a camel-hump in the middle which rounded out the square footage to 3,000 sq. ft. This is a much smaller wall, but if rain becomes this year's norm, there could be delays. Normal summer rain would be an afternoon phenomenon, so the solution is mainly an adaptation to the schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)