Thursday, August 25, 2011

Death By Audio Mural

So this has been a hell of a summer - many things afoot over in would be sleepy Greenpoint as exemplified by the last 96 hours' metropolitan tremor and the first hurricane of the season that i'm watching drift in over the roofs of North Brooklyn as i type. So yeah, lots of action over the last 3 months in the art, music and miscellaneous departments, much of which will show up here with the attendant and typically verbose write up. Werd. 

One of this summer's projects that i'm super excited to finally share is the mural i painted over 2 days at Brooklyn's Death By Audio, one of the all-time great DIY art and music venues. A few years ago, the fine folks who manage the place began commissioning artist friends, (mainly from bands who play there often) to paint murals on the walls inside the space, and i was invited to contribute something to the walls opposite the stage that adjoin the back room to the main performance space. 

As a lot of the other pieces are relatively colorful, i knew right out of the gate that i wanted to do something stark and black and white. I was also keen to free-hand the piece with some India ink in the vein of some large pieces i'd completed almost 10 years ago at the tail end of art school but had seldom revisited since. 

Content however, was a problem. I find that a lot of illustrators and designers (myself very much included) can get both very excited but also a little gun-shy when confronted with a piece that's not only well beyond the scale of your typical editorial illustration or book jacket and also not quite as disposable. And on an old-timey Catholic guilt level, friends of mine run and maintain the venue: i wanted to be sure i created something that they (more than anyone else) wouldn't be repulsed by, sick of in a few days etc.  After hemming and hawing over ideas one of my friends who looks after the place remarked that he liked the Hokusai-derived waves i often  incorporate in my work, which was the suggestion i was looking for. A lot of the other pieces have kind of a monstery quality to them and i definitely wanted to tap into that without getting contrived. Adding a subtle, sinister eyeball to the sketch below solved pretty much all issues.

From there it was just a matter of executing the final piece. I spent a day on each side, having to prime the wall first and let it dry, then going back in with some pretty thick Japanese brushes and some ink. Thanks again to Edan, Gavin and everyone else at Death By Audio for the gracious commission and the chance to contribute some art to my favorite music venue!

Notes: Death By Audio is far and away one of the best DIY music venues going. If you're a music fan and find yourself in the greater NYC area with a night to kill, i highly recommend it. It's one of the last great venues where on any given night you can be utterly clueless about any of the bands on the bill and probably see and hear something totally unexpected and amazing. It's located at 49 S2nd between Wythe and Kent in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Check out the calendar here.

Also, please pardon the lofi iPhone photos, it was all i had available at the time. Better shots coming soon, i swear! Thanks for reading!

Priming the walls.

In progress, the fills were done with ink as well to keep the black consistent and give it a more painterly feel.

The finished piece.