Behind the Walls

I have often wondered if my life as a wall artist has its roots in a common (and unfulfilled) childhood desire - to color on the walls. Like most children I tried it once or ...

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I have often wondered if my life as a wall artist has its roots in a common
(and unfulfilled) childhood desire - to color on the walls.

Like most children I tried it once or twice, and was of course instructed that, "We do not color on walls, we color on paper or in coloring books"; both of which were immediately supplied to me. This "rule" was obviously in the same company as "Don't touch the stove" and "Don't run with scissors"; completely nonnegotiable!

Unfortunately, (or fortunately!), my fascination with walls was stronger than my fear of punishment, because the cycle of coloring and then cleaning them, (and being given more paper) was repeated more than a few times.

It wasn't merely the lure of the forbidden, the rebelliousness of the act that drew me back too the walls. It wasn't the fact that paper was so much smaller than the walls - size was not the issue. My drawings, and coloring book pages, even when "good", were somehow not powerful enough. The reason for this was one that I could not possibly understand, much less articulate, as a child. In fact, it wasn't until quite recently that I discovered why I have chosen this somewhat unconventional outlet for my artwork..

A lifetime of exploring art through study and practice, contemplation and experience, has brought me to the realization that there is a "pattern" to what appeals to me; that is, what I find beautiful or moving. This pattern, or common thread, runs through all the many forms of art; sculpture, painting, drawing, music and film - even to the way I have decorated my home through the arrangement of furniture and ridiculously huge collection of "interesting things" that covers every available bit of space on my floors, furniture and yes - walls.

It has to do with space. While color, subject matter and style are important, the key element is space - or more specifically, the transformation of space.

The composition of a painting, (or the way the canvas space is used), can move me more than the subject of the painting itself; a particular camera angle in a film sequence will spark a stronger response than the action I'm supposed to be paying attention to. (My love affair with film makes perfect sense - in fact, an argument could be made that a film is the ultimate mural- after all, the first movies were referred to as "moving pictures" !) And music, well music can transform the very space I am in - a phenomena we have all shared, but find difficult to explain. And so it follows that coloring on the walls was an early attempt to transform a space - something I could not accomplish by drawing on paper.

What exactly is the difference between hanging a picture on a wall actually painting the wall itself? By painting the wall, the space becomes the art - not just a vehicle for its use. Whether large or small, a full scene or a series of spot paintings, a border or a cartoon, wall art transforms a room - or space - into an interactive, engaging experience. The room becomes part of the art; a new composition formed by the flow and interplay of the furniture and unpainted surfaces with the mural. In fact, the very choice of subject matter and style used to present it can be specifically chosen and manipulated to heighten this effect For instance, through the use of Trompe L'Oeil, a technique which means "fool the eye", the illusion of new space is purposefully created. (More on that later!)

Apparently, I am far from alone in my attraction to wall art as a form of expression. The powerful and interactive nature of wall art helps to explain its tremendous and growing popularity .

How wall art it is created and the endless possibilities for its use will be the subject of my articles here - (along with some musings about art and the artistic potential which I believe everyone has), and I hope that you will find them informative, entertaining and inspiring.

Seek Beauty.