Media: Acrylic on MDO board
Size: Five (5) 8' h x 4' w panels
Budget: $12,128.00 (grant from the Calhoun County Arts & Industry
Council Public Art Program, Marshall Rotary Foundation (fiduciary)
Location: 115 W. Green Street, Marshall, MI until at least 2017
The five reproduction murals depicting "Downtown Life" include cropped sections of Renoir's "The Boulevards", Van Gogh's "Café Terrace at Night", Monet's "Boulevard des Capuchines", Caillebotte's "Street in Paris in the Rain" and Munch's "Four Girls on a Bridge". The impressionistic use of color changed the way art was created and viewed from their time until today, and beyond.
There are three murals installed on the west side of the building, and two murals installed on the north side of the building, all about 25-feet from the ground. They are installed using 2-inch tapcon masonry screws which were drilled into each corner, and once in the middle of the longest side of each panel. Then a bead of caulk was run along the top of each panel to prevent moisture from seeping down the back sides of the murals (the sides and the bottom of each panel are left caulk-free to allow moisture to escape).
"Greenstreet Arts Historic Reproductions - Downtown Life"
The excitement and energy this project inspired from the community was awesome, and the opportunity to work with fellow artists was priceless. We learned from each other, about new materials such as different paint and brushes, and, of course, about the 'mural process'. I tried to incorporate as many different methods of creating a mural as I could, to give the artists as much knowledge as possible that they could use in the future (grid work, tracing, projection, color mixing/matching, etc.). I also incorporated some art history so that viewers could know more about these important artists and WHY they are important. The impressionists forever changed the world and how it is viewed with their revolutionary uses of color.
The creation process began with three series of murals being chosen, each with five different historic reproductions chosen to support a common theme. The community was then encouraged to vote for the series of murals they wanted to see on the historic Masonic Temple building located across the street from the Marshall Middle School. Close to 100 votes were received and the overwhelming theme chosen was 'Downtown Life'.
The impressionist art movement depicted in the chosen murals is important because of the way the impressionists viewed color forever changed the way art was both viewed and created. Before the impressionist movement, shadows were depicted as tones of the main color, but the impressionists used radical color choices to achieve astounding results. Renoir¹s 'The Boulevards' (the mainly green painting) was the first painting to use this new theory, using blue for its shadows instead of the customary dark green. And Edvard Munch was the first expressionistic painter who did not care about how exact his images were, only the emotion the viewer experienced while viewing his work. Van Gogh used creative color choices and his own version of 'attention to detail' that would not have been seen before this movement, but clearly has changed the whole of society since then. Caillebotte's work reflects a 'moment in time' where movement has been frozen, and the Monet and Renoir
reflect the fleeting nature of sunlight as it plays for an instant on the
landscape - both important impressionistic ideas.
The creative process allowed many different members of our community to come together and work for a common goal. Seniors were paired with high-school aged kids, and middle-aged people were paired with children. Everyone learned from each other and many friendships developed that are still ongoing today. Everyone learned valuable experience on how to create not only a mural, but to use their new knowledge in their own art or personal lives as well. The satisfaction of doing a job and doing it well has raised every artist's self-esteem.
In particular, there were artists/community volunteers who worked on this project in spite of debilitating illness. These individuals had not left their homes much prior to this experience, but due to their raised self-esteem and the fun of this project, they are now volunteering for other community activities and experiencing less pain and depression in their daily lives.
Underpainting, using layers of glazes and opaques, was practiced on
wallpaper, and then applied to the murals. The murals were finished with final layers of underpainting and inpainting by the lead artist. Everyone came back to learn about and help with the sealant coats and many were on hand to witness the mounting of the finished panels on the walls of the historic Masonic Temple building on Green Street in Marshall.