Last month I had the great honor to create a series of murals at the Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) and had very little time to not only get these murals completed, but to actually have a moment to blog this experience.
Shortly after the first of this year, I was approached our colleagues and Philanthropy partners at the HSSV to request my partnership with fellow artist Ron Burns to paint a series of original murals on the new animal habitat project within the new Milpitas facility. I met with Stephanie at the HSSV in January to view the space and received a tour of the new facility. Quite impressive, I was more amazed that this facility was *green* and compliant to the LEED parameters (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). It turns out that the painted that needed to be used for these murals ALSO needed to be LEED compliant. Now, mind you, I did not know much about this previously and have learned an incredible amount in the process. So, being the research crazy person that I am, I got on the phone with the facility gurus at the HSSV as well as the local LEED certification specialists, I also connected them with the paint companies that I utilize for specifics on the composite of the paints and varnishes. The design was focused on the needs of the pets and overall animal care – what is best for the animals.
This mural project was not some off the cuff idea that just surfaced, it was planned, calculated and compliant.
As the day approached and all the press was aligned and the supplies for transit accounted for I needed to really mentally get psych’ed for this project because I do not typically paint in the daytime… or paint on a schedule… but the excitement to be part of this and to paint with fellow artist Ron Burns who is a pet painter/artist legend was pretty darn cool. Several reporters from several publications came to interview us, including The Milpitas Post and the Silicon Valley Newspapers.
Arrived to the new facility around10:30am and did not waste any time, I knew that these next three days were going to be a challenge. I had an idea of what I was going to create for these nine murals all on small modest pieces of note paper.
Having brought my trusty iPod and Bose iPod stereo, this is really the only support I have, I do not have a production staff that helps me prep or stage the artwork, only becasue I have a specific method of how I work. … I work best in a high volume fast paced environment and have to do each piece from start to finish. I have tried the production line style of creation, but this does not work for me, I feel I loose a lot of emotion when trying to do it this way.
So the first mural I created was one that I was truly excited about, it was the piece I titled “A Window to New Beginnings” .
The paintings that followed were a slight departure of what I do on canvas, I think because there were no limits, no parameters and the need for speed. Pieces included are “”Flowah Paw’ah”, “I’m on the Outside”, “Royal Rover”, “Daily Routine”, “Poodle Posies”, “Carrot Kingdom”, “Crazy Cosmic Cat” and my beloved “Lil Miss SAMi”, this piece is in the main socialization area of the habitats that I was responsible for. Averaging 3 murals per day was amazing.
Tons of emotional support, HSSV folks, Stephanie Ladeira, Christine Benniger and Laura Fulda stopped by a few times to check in to see the progress.
Ron and Buff Burns and their assistant Andrea met Mark and I for dinner after day one of intense painting, we were all pretty exhausted, but caught up for dinner in downtown Campbell. We met at our gallery and then off to Aquis Tex Mex. We took this fabulous photo of us at the gallery. I think we looked pretty good based on our exhaustion factor!
Two more full days of intense painting ahead. I give major kudos to my iPod and the selection of my favorite energetic tunes, from “Oingo Boingo”,”B52’s” to the array of hits of the 80’s and 90’s. Pumped the volume and proceeded to conquer this marathon. Ron, Buff and Andrea finished up late Thursday afternoon as they needed to depart back to Scottsdale, AZ for another obligation, so it was pretty quiet.
I was at the HSSV until late on Thursday, roughly 10:00pm finishing up and taking in this accomplishment. I was so tired, but satisfied to the degree of pleased on how this all turned out. In the days that followed, I was exhausted. My legs and arms were so sore from the ladder activity and my brain was fizzed out. It was a good kind of tired. Just to know that I could create something that would be a significant part of this new animal community was a rewarding feeling that I cannot even express. I get a tad misty when I reminisce about it.
This past weekend, the HSSV held its open house to the public. Mark and I were asked to come and showcase some of the pet related items that we create and to be present for the new murals. Itwas really wonderful to see what had been accomplished at the site just in the last 30 days – wow! There was a lot of press on this event, including The Mercury News that gave me a little mention on Sunday’s paper.
The overall support of the community, HSSV staff, volunteers was incredible. Thanks to everyone for their support and caring. It does make a difference. I feel so very proud.