The Maverick Mural Proposal
Hi, my name is Aaron Bass and in collaboration with Chen + Suchart Studio, and Eric Marvin, we are excited to bring you “The Maverick.” The Maverick is a commemorative mural located in the heart of “Old Town” Scottsdale, and will be dedicated to Senator John McCain and his family. Together we are architects, developers, and artists. In practice, we use computational design and digital fabrication to bring projects to life. We are raising a minimum of $20,000 dollars for The Maverick with hopes to surpass this goal, so we can continue to create other large-scale public art projects. This mural is not only a commemoration but a reminder that discourse and discussion are pivotal. Thanks for supporting the Maverick.
Kevin Lynch, the American urbanist said it best: “As an artificial world, the city should be so in the best sense: made by art, shaped for human purposes.” The Maverick mural shapes Scottsdale’s urban landscape through art—enhancing the individual experience of visitors and lifelong residents alike. The Maverick’s scale, iconography, and history highlight Arizona’s independent spirit and inspire conversation, both about where we have been and where we are headed. At the center of the mural, Arizona icon Senator John McCain embodies the independent, persistent, and resolute nature of the State.
Site & Scale
The Maverick mural will be located in the heart of “Old Town” Scottsdale on the north elevation of the 4235 N. Marshall Way building, adjacent to a surface parking lot, and across the street from the Bob Parks Horse Fountain. Its dimensions are massive: 30 feet tall by 120 feet long, totaling roughly 4,001 square feet.
The concept stems from a re-imagination and interpretation of a Nigel Parry portrait of Senator McCain. The mural pulls from the halftone printing process, used to print newspapers since the 1800’s. The halftone process uses a grid of dots varying in size to produce an overall image. Using computational tools from the architecture field, the Maverick places a digital spin on the halftone process. Instead of using different sized dots, we digitally arranged roughly 30,000 pictograms with varying color densities in a specific organization to create the overall image of Senator McCain with the State’s flag in the background. Each pictogram stands 3 inches tall and represents Arizona’s “five Cs”; cattle, copper, citrus, climate, & cotton. The computational design tools not only help design the art but create the blueprint for installation and fabrication.
Below is stencil #60 composed of 126 icons.
Fabrication & Installation
The art lies in the fabrication and organization before any paint is applied. The mural starts in the computer with a custom written program to create a series of stencils which are numerically organized, and digitally cut to fit the building.
Below is the mock-up of two different stencils.
The building elevation is then divided into a corresponding grid. The 179 individual stencils are applied by hand and used to guide the painting process to complete the overall image. At this point the project has been simplified from a complex mathematical problem to a sophisticated paint-by-numbers installation.
We look forward to creating this piece of evocative art which engages the entire city of Scottsdale, while commemorating Arizona and its icons.
Below is a rendering of the overall image made-up of 30,000 pictograms.
Background on the Collaborators
Aaron Bass Background: Artist and Designer
I’m an architectural designer and artist who focuses on contemporary design, digital fabrication, and computational modeling. In practice, I pursue advanced design ideas that straddle the line between architecture and art. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Planning from Arizona State University. My Urban Planning background involved entitlement ranging from large scale mixed use developments, to single-family master planned communities. After practicing for 4 years in the private sector, I decided to focus solely on design and head back to school to pursue a Master’s Degree in architecture from the University of Arizona. I currently work with Chen + Suchart Studio located in Old Town Scottsdale, where I design everything from graphics to detail-driven architecture. Since working at Chen + Suchart Studio, I’ve been the lead project manager and designer for projects that have won AIA local and regional design awards in multiple categories.
Chen + Suchart Studio, LLC Background: Architects
Chen + Suchart Studio works at a variety of scales ranging from small well-crafted projects and single-family residences to larger scale urban design. Thamarit Suchart and Patricia Szu-Ping Chen Suchart completed their studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture 1997) and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (Master of Architecture in Urban Design 1999). Thamarit was born and raised in Arizona. Having left Arizona for 13 years of education on the east coast of the United States, he chose to return to Arizona to raise his family and to start a design practice with Patricia in 2002. Since 2015, the firm has been the recipient of a total of nine AIA design awards, from both the AIA Arizona Chapter as well as from the AIA Western Mountain Region Chapter.
Risks and challenges
Art is a risk. The primary challenge is provoking discussion, whether it be about the tiny pictograms or about the direction we are headed as country. Since this is public art it will be vandalized and change with time, but we accept that as character and life.
Logistically, the timeline is always a challenge. We will be using mechanical and digital equipment that can be sensitive at times, so stencil production could take longer than expected. If something breaks we will fix it and work to get back on track, but may be forced push the install date or delivery of rewards. I will keep you updated throughout the production process and install and let you know if there's going to be any delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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