Last week I wrapped up one of my favorite projects to date: the #confettiheartswall mural! Given I typically paint on paper, I wanted to give more context to this project--both how I even ended up painting a 40 ft wall and the meaning behind it.
Noticing the popularity of “instagram walls,” I have become more and more fascinated with public art over the last year—particularly how these murals invite the world to literally walk with art in their everyday life. Without picking up a paintbrush or going to an art museum, pedestrians are able uncover the joy art constantly brings me. When I first started painting 6ish years ago, I felt like I put on a magical pair of glasses that changed the way I saw everything; I started appreciating everything around me. I want everyone to look at the world in this magical way; to notice and celebrate everyday things the way we used to when we were young: things like four leaf clovers and lucky pennies. Have you ever heard that Picasso quote “every child is an artist; the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up?” For me, it’s as simple as picking up a paintbrush, but, for those who can’t or won’t, projects like this allow everyone to (literally) step back into the magic.
I started thinking about what I would paint if I could somehow get a wall and wrote a blog post with a few random ideas (see here). Familiar with my work, the marketing team for a real estate investment company Asana Partners in CLT saw the post and reached out a couple months later with a mural opportunity. Asana sent me an inspiration board of ideas and it was immediately obvious they were looking for something colorful (right up my alley). I started by creating a dozen different sketches, all of which I hoped would bring happiness to the space. Two of my ideas were confetti inspired concepts: one with confetti circles and one with confetti hearts. Another idea was to do a repeating “be kind” in different colors across the wall. Below are some of the first sketches I sent over. After a few emails back and forth, the final design ended up being a combination with “be kind” (plus “do good” and “love others”) written on three of the confetti hearts.
Once the sketch was approved, I started creating my game plan for transferring it onto a 40ft wall. After having someone pressure wash the wall, fill in some of the cracks, and prime the surface for me, I gridded out the wall into 4x3 ft increments using painters tape (which you can kind of see in the photos) so that it corresponded with my sketch design (which I had also divided into a 4x3 ft grid). From there, I took chalk and began outlining a heart stencil I cut out of paper. I filled in the hearts with color from there! The most challenging part turned out to be the weather. It rained for 4 straight days the week I was supposed to start and when I was finally able to start painting, it was extremely COLD! On top of that, the mural is located in an alley that gets zero sunlight and is basically a wind tunnel. One of the days, it got so cold that I went to the bathroom and sat under the hand dryers! :)
This was the most fun I’ve ever had painting and I look forward to hopefully doing more projects like this in the future. If you want to see more murals, please post an image of it to your instagram feed with the #confettiheartswall hashtag. Having a tangible number of posts will help both me and Asana Partners create more murals in the future——I really want this to create more opportunities for all artists (not necessarily just for me; though I would be thrilled to do another). And sharing and showing that you're interested will help cultivate these opportunities for ALL artists. We NEED public art in our communities. Exposure to art DRASTICALLY improves mental health and overall well being—this includes both passive exposure (like visiting a wall mural) or actively engaging in painting or singing. While painting, I was listening to Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Her book goes into depth about the correlation between art and joy (for a cliff notes: watch this ted talk).
Whether it's a piece of paper or a 40ft wall, I always paint with the intention of of creating more joy. With this mural, I hope you walk away not only more joyful, but inspired to live out the message: throw love like confetti. Believe that you that you can make the world brighter through small acts of love and kindness, one confetti heart at a time. When you feel insignificant, I hope you remember that you and the things you do matter. Whether it's a cup of coffee for a friend or a plate of cookies for a coworker, every single small act of kindness is like one of these hearts and, over time, they add up into something BIG, BRIGHT and BEAUTIFUL.
Bob Goff says we should "love one another. we don't need more instructions; we need more examples." I love this and hope you feel that in the mural through all the different colors. Pause and think about what the world would look like if it were all one color. I would not be happy in a world that was only the color red; I would feel dizzy and mad. Yet, that’s how most of us live; we make decisions based on what is best for us and only us without considering or listening to our neighbors: the oranges, yellows, greens, and blues of the world. By disregarding others and trying to instruct them in the way we see the world, we make the world a dizzying, chaotic place. While we cannot control much in the world (where we're born, what we're good at, or who we love), we can control how much love we give to it. Let's give more love to our neighbors; even when it's messy and dripping with imperfection and shortcomings. As you walk through life (and hopefully by this mural), I hope my confetti hearts serve as a visual reminder that the world is brighter when we consider, respect, and love each other.
One last sentiment I would like to share---after I finished the mural and was carrying my paint to my car, a construction worker stopped me to share a photo with me that he had taken while working on top of an adjacent building the day before (first image in the post). Before he showed me, he said-- "I just wanted to show you what the Lord is capable of." In the photo, two rainbows eclipse the mural; a beautiful reiteration of not only a rainbow's visual magic, but also because that, as I spoke to above, more than one color is needed to create such beauty; it's not something we do alone. With that, I would just like you to leave with 1 Corinthians 16:14- "let all that you do be done in love."