Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Artist Statement (for murals)

So recently, I applied to be on a muralist roster. Kind of just a list of people who do murals that the city of Portland keeps on hand, and on their website, to refer to whenever anyone goes looking for a muralist. Kind of a biggie for me to try and be on. So I thought I would share the little artist statement I wrote for that application - it's basically my whole mural-ing deal in a nutshell, since I had to keep it super short. :) Wish me luck!

My mission is to bring: POSITIVITY, BEAUTY, INSPIRATION, LEARNING and UNDERSTANDING to environments, through painting walls.

I started painting murals as a high school student in Eugene, Oregon. My Mom hated the wallpaper in our kitchen, so we scraped it off, and I painted a tropical garden. During that first mural, I fell in love with painting BIG. Since then, I have been painting murals in private homes, businesses, with students, in memory care facilities, and with prison inmates.

After college, I joined the Peace Corps, where I lived and worked in Madagascar for 2 years. In Madagascar, I painted murals about health and environment topics in rural hospitals and schools. The murals became visual teaching aids, where most are illiterate. It became clear to me that murals can add value to the world, outside of aesthetics. Murals can teach concepts, illustrate ideas, tell stories and change minds. 

After returning from the Peace Corps, I joined the Lane Arts Council's Teaching Artist Roster in Eugene, OR. I taught mural-making to students in grades K-12, in over 10 public schools. I once facilitated a 4th grade in painting a mural on cloth, about Malaria prevention, and shipped it to Madagascar where it was installed in a rural clinic.  I have witnessed the rise in student’s self-esteem and sense of community when they work together on a mural. The same way that a school community is strengthened by a collaborative mural project, public murals allow artists and community members to honor their own neighborhoods. I enjoy both facilitating mural projects with groups, and creating them solo. 

Murals can turn forgotten spaces into beautiful ones. Whether that transformation occurs inside a private home or in a public space, murals allow people to tell their stories. What I love about being a muralist, is that I get to help be that storyteller. Murals allow walls to live up to their full potential. They allow people to speak without using words, and to be understood.

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