I just wrapped up my second outdoor mural project completed in collaboration with one of my favorite small businesses: Jeni's Ice Creams! Their first location is right next to my other mural the confetti hearts wall in Southend. As an ice cream fanatic, I was beyond excited to hear they were opening up a new location in Charlotte NC's NoDa neighborhood (and a third on Park Rd.) When they reached out about having a mural painted, I basically jumped at the opportunity. Their art director Patrick Moore's vision was a colorful striped concept that read "make people feel loved today." The bright colors and kind message in the concept he designed was right up my alley.
I immediately got to work on testing out the various colors to make sure they matched their branding. I happened to be at the beach during this time, so I had a little fun with the color testing and painted the bike above. When you buy sample colors, they give you lower grade interior paints to test with. Since I obviously couldn't use those on an exterior wall, I thought I'd try one of my family's bike just for fun. I wouldn't recommend trying this as I doubt interior paints are going to last on a bicycle, but it turned out to be pretty cute and I'll let y'all know how it holds up in a few months!
To begin the actual painting process, I got an expert to pressure wash and prime the wall a peach color for me (that truly makes these projects so much easier). The site of the wall is mostly under construction, so, yes, as you can see in the photos, there were porta-toilets surrounding me while I worked. Let this fact be evidence of my infinite love for both art and ice cream 😂
Anyway...once the wall was pressure washed and painted peach, I mapped out the stripes using painters tape. The vision was to have slightly wonky and imperfect stripes, so I just made sure each one was roughly spaced out between 4-6ish inches like in the mock up. I then wrote the name of each color on the tape as a guide. From there, I paint up each stripe out to the top a few at a time!
The main challenge with this project was that the wall was 24ish ft high, which meant I had to use a scissor lift to reach to the top. Given I complete most of my art from a table and chair in my studio, this was literally new territory---not only that, but I don't love heights, frequently choose the stairs over normal elevators, and frequently get into parking lot fender benders. While scissor lifting up 24 ft in the air seemed a bit daunting, I knew I could figure it out. After extensive googling, I figured out how to rent the lift, got a certification from OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to legally use the lift, and supplemented that with a few youtube clips titled "how to operate a scissor lift." Ultimately, a construction worker kindly showed me me how to use it when I got to the site and the machine ended up being pretty easy (and fun!) to operate.
The last part I painted was the "make people feel loved today" script off to the right. With lettering, I usually take a clean brush and write the script out in the air first to get a rough idea of where everything should go before lightly sketching it on. That way, if you mess up, it's easy to paint over and start again. I sketched my first attempt out way too small, so I painted over that and wrote it out slightly larger the second go around. I wanted the lettering to be positioned so that people could choose to stand next to it or sit under it (kind of like Austin's i love you so much wall). I can't wait to see y'alls pictures when you hopefully visit this soon ❤️
As I painted this, I was reflecting on how, since I could write, one of my favorite things has been to give notes to people. One of my greatest joys in the middle school to high school era was leaving doodles/letters in friends' lockers to brighten their day. Even in college, I would leave notes for my roommates or paint a message on the mirror if they had a bad day (fyi craft acrylic paint washes right off mirrors). Whether it was a ladybug doodle or a cute quote, I've always enjoyed drawing something intended to make someone smile. I'm so grateful that I've somehow been given the chance to do this same sort of thing on a larger scale; I feel like I'm leaving love notes for my friends throughout Charlotte and I can't tell you how appreciative I am of these opportunities.
Thank you X a million for your support and I hope this new mural makes your day brighter.
Visit: 424 E 36th St. Suite 400 Charlotte, NC (in the Novel NoDa Development where Idlewild is located)