Art is Work


My daughter, Sophie Germaine, just completed a three week project making a mural on a wall in Concord, Massachusetts. Sophie and I were at La Provence restaurant over winter break and talked about doing something with that wall. The "wall" really was, to Sophie, a great big blank canvas and cried out for some color and life!

Here is the wall as it looked in the early spring of 2012:

So, Sophie spoke with the wall's owner, Guy DiGiovanni, who was thrilled to have her propose a mural. They agreed on a "Tuscan theme" based on a sketch that Sophie photoshopped to the wall, to show (roughly) how it would look when finished:

Sophie started work in early July. She worked whenever there was no rain, including Saturday and Sunday. I took my GoPro camera and stuck it on her car for 3 weeks so it could film her transforming the wall. Here is the time lapse video showing the whole project in 2 minutes:

One thing that was really impressive to me was that Sophie never showed any hesitation about tackling such a large project. Self-doubt can ruin any creative project, whether it is art, design, or even software. However, whether Sophie was working with the owner on the design, or selecting the colors, testing them on the wall, renting a lift, or showing up at 8:30 every day and working till sundown, she managed the whole thing. I tried to help out a few times (with logistics, not painting) but she more or less said "I'm all set, thanks". Which is a great start to the "work of art".

The finished mural is 16 feet high and 30 feet long, making 480 square feet of art. I originally guessed that it would take 6 weeks of work to complete (based on no knowledge or experience). Sophie worked whenever it was not raining, putting in some very long days. But she produced art at a great pace, finishing in 3 weeks (although she said that "a painting is never done, you can always add more details to it").

Here is the final mural, with Sophie sitting in one of the chairs:

The local Concord paper, the Concord Journal, interviewed Sophie about the painting of the mural, her inspiration and the process of painting on such a large scale. "I remember we visited this huge garden in a villa in Italy," said Sophie, "It had balusters and a lemon tree. I wanted to incorporate those into the landscape."

The article also helped to invite all of Concord to attend the mural unveiling, in person.

The "Concord Mural Unveiling" party was held at the mural on August 13, 2012 from 5 PM to 7 PM. Guests were treated to art along with hors d'oeuvres catered by Farfalle Italian Market and music.

About 80 people showed up to talk to the artist and admire the mural.

Many people mentioned how it looked much more interesting in person than it appeared at a 4x6 photo in the Concord Journal, and were glad they came to see it in person.

One of Sophie's favorite parts of the mural is the life-sized table and two chairs in the foreground of the mural.

"You can go up to the painting and it actually looks like you are sitting on the chairs."

Many people who attended the unveiling took the opportunity for a "Mary Poppins" moment to sit in the mural and have some refreshments at the table. Here are pictures of a few:

As a small but pleasant note, Sophie painted herself and me biking in Tuscany into the mural:

About Sophie Germaine

The mural can be found at 97 Thoreau Street, Concord, Mass.

It was designed and painted by Sophie Germaine Paolino, recently completed her first year as an art student at SAIC (School of the Art Institute of Chicago). It is 16 feet high by 30 feet long, and depicts a Tuscan landscape. This is Sophie's first project of this scale.

More of Sophie's work can be seen on her blog here:

Blog Tags
Art, Family

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