So, let's hop to it, no time to waste, right? Merced, California had a national call to public artists. I found out about the opportunity within about a week of the deadline. Excitement and nervousness rushed my well fed body, this would be the time I would take everything that I learned over the last year and apply it, studiomargo style, for my first solo RFP. Merced gave the artists three themes to work within, the history of Merced, Yosemite/Central Valley, and Merced culture. So right away I hopped onto the Yosemite train. I started to gather images and started my research. After one day of that I started to thinking to myself that this is about Merced, MERCED, not what lies past Merced, or the gateway into something, this is about Merced, the community, the people, the life and culture that makes Merced what it is. So I started to research Merced and started dialogues with Merced County residences. I come from a long line of family farmers so conversations about the USDA, agricultural this, 4-H Club that, and discussion about the landscape were buzzing around and starting to make their way into studiomargo. Keeping in the theme of utilizing my last year in every way possible for this project I started to become so happy when the ideas started to spill out of my brain and onto the paper. All of a sudden, the bees, the chickens, flowers, the small farm lifestyle I led for a few months in the SC mountains started to pop up and it felt so right. My grandmother's profile, who was a farmer and my friends childrens' all found their way into the murals. This concept was created with love and family moments.
First let me write to you about this project. Since I am a muralist, this project has the potential of 6 different murals, the sizes are: (2) 45'x4.5', (2) 45'x6.5', and (2)45'x7'. Yes, that is a wonderful amount of painting surface, indeed! Now, let me take you back to about 2004 or so when I was a webmaster for the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, which is where I was introduced to, Transportation Art! Ah yes. So I brushed up on it again and repetition is one of the keys to having transportation art work well. It was the repetition that sparked my idea for the landscape. I wanted to have all of the panels/murals linked in some way but without being overly repetitive. So four of the murals I kept the Merced landscape an anchor while utilizing farm based creatures and family moments as a strong staple to the piece. For the other two murals that will be roadway panels 4 and 5 I took produce grown in Merced for my inspiration.
This is the current stage of the G Street Underpass in Merced (Photo and drawing courtesy of the Merced Redevelopment Agency). Below that is the final design and where the panels will go for the project.
Statement for Merced G Street Underpass
The concept for the six panels are based on the culture of Merced. From livestock to community to crops to 4H clubs Merced places a high importance on the land, nature, and development of the future. In this concept is a fruitful, passionate, community based visual. Coming from a long line of family farmers has instilled a high importance of the land and food and cattle production in me.
The pedestrian panels will be more detailed, having a range of farm animals and community members while keeping the landscape a main staple throughout the entire G Street Underpass, much like it is in Merced. The four roadway panels utilize repetition and a simple but sophisticated color palette. This will keep the driver focused on the road but enjoying the colors. Merced produces a diverse range of agricultural produce from tomatoes, berries, grains, melons, potatoes, cotton, milk, cheese, poultry, and cattle. This concept is taking the Merced agriculture production and using it directly in the murals. All panels are family friendly and in fact this concept places a high importance on community and working together not only as a family but also as an agricultural community. Keeping an interesting perspective and dynamic angles with a strong composition will create a fresh yet timeless energy to the space and this piece.
Below are the final line drawings.
The artistically organized list for the complete information for the RFP.
Mounted final line drawings ready for a final painted sketch.
I can not remember if that is 8:20 in the morning or the night, I was pulling those long studio sessions again, where Sun setting and Sun rising are something that happens in the middle of your working 'day'.
The painting station, where I sat for the next two days painting the maquette murals. As I was painting these little murals the thought of painting them on 45 feet of material was so exciting, I mean, those are some big berries!
The final painted sketches ready for delivery.
Creating the final studiomargo package.
March 7th is when the finalist are announced.