Every once in awhile it's really fun to stop worrying about working in sizes that fit my 11" x 17" scanner, and to just go nuts painting all over someone's walls.
Two months ago, I was asked by two expectant parents if I could paint "something fun" in their soon-to-be nursery in their new apartment in TriBeCa. The "something", they said, could be anything. So I thought. Thought about what it would be like to be a baby growing up in Tribeca--about as far as you could get from my studio in the Catskills in terms of scenery/lifestyle/access to Chinese takeout--and decided it was actually pretty obvious:
The baby needed its own personalized NYC - ABCs.
So I got to work sketching and consulting with the clients. I wanted a mix of what I love about NYC. (And love to paint.) And what they love. The mix is pretty hilarious. Like J being for Joralemon st. (An inside joke.)
Here's the mural in its entirety. A-J is on one side of the nursery's long wall:
K-Z goes along the other:
Some of my favorite letters include, C... for dog. And by "dog", I mean the family dog, Carlin:
P is for pigeon. Normal, very NYC, right? (But I also wanted P to be for pizza.) So...
R is for rat... pizza rat!
I tried to incorporate some of my favorite NYC landmarks. Now this kiddo is going to know all about Frank Lloyd Wright and the Guggenheim museum before he/she thinks G is for something like giraffe!
And will probably LOVE donuts. I know I wanted to eat the pink paint I used for the frosting while i was painting it. (How did Wayne Thiebauld not eat his cakes???)
But my favorite letter ended up being Y. Which it turns out is REALLY hard to think of for NYC. (The historical Duke of York staring down at you seemed pretty spooky.) So I took serious artistic license and made Y, you. Not you-you. You-the-baby, you!
And one last note about my process: For projects like this I prefer to sketch everything out first. This way I can run the looks and concepts by the client. This mural ended up being a lot of sketching, but it was fun revisiting my old hometown. Plus these made a great gift to the parents-to-be.
As I went, I would do the line work in black ink first, then follow up with acrylic paint. And somehow, through A, to B, to C, to D, etc. I didn't spill ANY paint on the floor or walls. I'm still not sure how I did that.
Like this mural and want me to make one for YOU? Drop me a line!
The baby was born healthy and beautiful and clearly a fan of art from oh such a young age.