RWC-Shorewood

“Remember the day…” Installed in Shorewood

The Shorewood murals have been installed – yay!

A few months ago I was chosen along with 10 other local artists be part of a beautification project for the Village of Shorewood in Wisconsin. The concept, called “Signaling History” was organized by the Public Art Shorewood committee, and focused on decorating the metal utility boxes located at each intersection with a traffic light. The commission required that each work should incorporate the history of Shorewood, but otherwise the artists were free to create whatever they wanted. We were all provided access to the local historical society and archives to research Shorewood history.

Since my work of recent years has been inspired by antique family snapshots, the idea of incorporating photos of previous Shorewood generations dovetailed nicely into my area of interest. The corner I was working on is the site of two Shorewood elementary schools – Atwater Elementary Public School and St Robert’s Parish and Grade School. My brother and I attended St Roberts, so I was very excited for my work to be installed on this corner.

At the historical society, I found a number of inspirational images. I took photos of at least 100 images, and when I got home I compiled several of those to arrive at the final composition. What made the cut were two class photos of Atwater school children from the 1950s plus an adorable photo of a young boy with his teacher that became the focal point of the piece.

The drawings are not meant to be portraits of specific people. My intent in using old photos as inspiration is to capture a particular time and/or place and to elicit a feeling or mood. I often will make changes to further this affectation. For this piece, I put some of the children in school uniforms and I also added some children of color to the design. These details are not true to the historical photos I was working from, but I wanted to be inclusive of the children of both schools and to also reflect the multicultural nature of Shorewood’s current population. To place the composition on this specific corner of Shorewood, I added sketches of both of the schools into the background.

The signal box I was assigned had two flat adjacent sides so I decided to create a continuous composition that wrapped around the corner. In order to draw the eye from one side to the next, I added a device of colorful balloons blowing in the wind. I did the entire project in a digital format, from my iPad. This is a new technique I’ve been developing which worked perfectly for this project since the final murals were to be digitally printed onto  substrate and then adhered to the utility boxes for installation.

The final work is meant to elicit the celebratory and nostalgic feelings of being a young student on the last day of school. The work is entitled “Remember the day…”. Below are a few site photos.

A big thank you to Diane Buck who told me about this project, to the Village of Shorewood, Public Art Shorewood and the Shorewood Historical society. And an extra special thanks to Confluence Graphics in Shorewood – the printers and installers of the murals. The color turned out just as I’d envisioned it, and the join at the corner is barely perceptible. Awesome job!

For those who live in the area and would like to view this piece in person, it is located on the southwest corner of Maryland Avenue and Capitol Drive, in Shorewood, Wisconsin. And don’t forget to drive through the village and check out the other artists’ work as well. Each intersection with traffic lights now has a mural installed on the utility box! 😀

RochelleCarr-RememberTheDay

Beautification of Shorewood Village

I finally completed a commission today – this has been 3 months in the making.

I was selected along with 10 other local artists by the village of Shorewood, WI for a neighborhood beautification project. We are decorating corner utility boxes with paintings inspired by the history of the village of Shorewood. The corner where my work will be placed is at Maryland Avenue and Capitol Drive, the location of two elementary schools – Atwater and St Roberts. My brother and I attended St Roberts, so I was really hoping to get this particular location. Anyway – I’ve been working on this for months and finally submitted the final piece today. This should be installed in the next month or so. Yay!

The piece is called “Remember the Day…” and the images of the children and the teacher were inspired by 1950s era Atwater class photos found at the Shorewood Historical Society. Also pictured in the backgrounds are the two schools located on that corner.

Maybelle in the sun

Digital Painting as a solution to storage issues

Artists who have been working for any length of time will eventually run into an issue with storage. Art supplies, sketches, half finished work, and unsold work – it’s a lot of stuff all needing careful handling. Having just combined houses with my new husband and dealing with the inevitable storage challenges that have ensued, I’m left wondering, where does this end? Does any artist ever sell ALL their work? Will I ever have enough art supplies? There’s an awful lot now, and if no changes are made, the volume will continue to expand. Golly, that’s a sobering thought.

Digital vs traditional

My day job is in graphic design so I am no stranger to using software to create images, so what about going digital? I’ll admit, I’ve never taken digital painting seriously as a fine art medium. Nothing compares to the immediacy of paint on paper, plus painting takes me far away from my work-a-day activities, even if it’s only to the next room.

Question: is a painting created in a digital medium given the same credence in the art world as painting in oils or acrylics? Speaking as an art consumer, I’ve wondered about this question before. If an art piece blows you away, does it matter the medium? Or will the most amazing digital artist in the world still be perceived as a few pegs below a middling oil painter, just because the world at large would (right or wrong) attribute more skill and dedication to the artist working in the traditional medium? And in this same vein, what is the relative value of a limited print made from a digital painting versus buying or selling a one-of-a-kind original work? Not sure there’s a definitive answer to this. It is likely a shifting paradigm.

It all begs the question: why do I paint? Is it to make money (ahem, what money?) or gain the esteem of the art world at large – or is it how the act of creating makes me feel? And if it’s more about how I feel, then why on earth am I amassing so much stuff in my house?

Pixels take up no shelf space.

In 2019 I invested in an iPad and a digital pencil and downloaded a number of different painting and sketching apps. I am still squarely in the experimentation stage, but I am really starting to have fun with this. The multiple software apps I’ve been trying out are all incredibly deep – so many options to explore. Hundreds of different brushes, pens, pencils, different settings for each, even different kinds of surfaces to paint on. Oooh (clapping in excitement) lots of new stuff to learn!

Below are some of my first digital works. I can say that the rush I get from creating on the iPad is every bit as good as the when I work with traditional mediums. I can sit anywhere and paint with my iPad – curled up on the couch, on vacation, waiting for a train – wherever. The practice of painting digitally informs my traditional work – it’s all a study of color, line, form, composition, volume, etc., doesn’t matter the medium. And working digitally means my ongoing storage problem has begun fading away in a pixelated haze. iCloud, here I come.

I don’t foresee giving up traditional painting – that has its own rewards. But digital painting solves a lot of issues and is remarkably convenient. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up creating a series of prints or greeting cards, or something else for sale.

Anyway, who cares? It’s fun.

 

 

 

 

RO

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©2020 Rochelle Weiner Carr Fine Art, All Rights Reserved