I was recently commissioned to create a mural on a disused wall of Union House at the Parkville Campus of Melbourne University. The site featured a deep purple wall and a maroon vinyl seating across the front. I was asked to work with both. When a site has offered up colours that I have to work with like this in the past, I have toyed with complementing or contrasting, and with ignoring the colour altogether. This time, I attempted to select a colour palette independent of its background colour but with a different tonal value.
I painting the vinyl in my ‘studio’ and cut it on site. I was fortunate to enlist Brad as my artist assistant, and the extra pair of hands made applying the large sheets of vinyl an easier job. With pieces of vinyl this large, at least four hands are necessary – I usually make do with only two, plus masking tape and frustration. So it was nice to have the luxury this time.
It is sometimes unnerving to walk away from an install half way through. Exhausted and not sure how the finished product will come together. My making process features a lot of little steps toward the finished product, and most of the way along can feel unsure. Painting rectangular sheets of vinyl on the floor can look good, but only a hint. The cut out pieces can be exciting, but they still feel a little lifeless until I stick them to the wall. Once in place they lack something. In recent works painting over the top of these has brought about the kind of resolve I’m looking for. Binding the sometimes disparate sections together, binding some sharp edges to the wall.
And here I am, exhausted and happy. This site had some good challenges to it and I’m grateful for the opportunity to make this work. Many thanks to Sandie and everyone at UMSU.
A few more finished shots coming up next post.