I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a big, rambling house full of artists. As a kid, I’d shadow my stepmother and stepsister as they headed out for an afternoon of painting. I’d sometimes work on my own sketches and paintings, but I was just as happy to sit and watch them craft their beautiful watercolor miracles, with marshes and boats as their models. I was drawn to their process and to their focus. The whole thing was fascinating to me.
Here in Nashville, with outdoor, hand-painted murals going up all over town, I’m reminded of those days. Numerous groups and projects have come together to bring some world-class artists to town. Their murals bring a creative vitality and a sense of community pride to every corner of the city. They also afford all of us the opportunity to experience the vicarious pleasure of seeing the artist bring his or her vision to life in real time.
A recent New York Times article tells the story of Brooklyn-based Colossal Media. Created for major brands like Coca-Cola, Adidas and Spotify, Colossal’s hand-painted murals are as much about the painstaking (and costly) process as they are about the product they’re pitching. The aim is to establish authentic relationships with customers that appreciate handmade work created by genuine artists and craftsmen. But Colossal takes things a step further, bringing this age-old medium boldly into the present, filming the entire process and giving their clients time-lapsed videos to promote on social media.
Next time you’re in New York, maybe you’ll get lucky and stumble upon a crowd of passersby taking the time to stop and watch Colossal’s “wall-dogs” as they plot and paint these oversized, outdoor advertisements. Watch out though. I can tell you from experience it can eat up an entire afternoon!