If you wander the Adrian campus of Siena Heights University you are bound to see beautiful works of art around nearly every corner. Take a stroll to our science building through the ground floor entrance and you will see the newest completed work, a large, lovely mural taking the space of 2 walls and representing what Siena Heights University stands for. It displays the three words every student at Siena should strive to be, "Competent - Purposeful - Ethical." Patterned behind these words you will see a deconstructed version of the Siena Heights University seal, a huge part of the history of the school. I will be talking about the process that Angela Sieler, with the help of myself, her intern Skylar Keith, went through to create this beautiful representation of Siena Heights University. this process lasting upwards of a month and a half but usually only being worked on on Mondays and Wednesdays when I was in the office to help.
Like any other work you have to start with the basics. In the image above you sill see rough sketches for the mural on the two walls. Placing things where they will roughly end up and getting down the basic concepts and ideas of the mural. This step is just for getting ideas down on physical paper, it is not necessarily what the final product will turn out looking, along the way many little changes were made from this original ideas. Many of the elements sketched her were the PVC signs you will see on the mural and not what we later decided to paint.
In this image you will see the basic elements of the mural, ideas for the background, basic patterns and pieces of the SHU seal. Nothing at this point was nailed down yet, this was all creative experimentation, but it was the building blocks that got Angela to the background pattern of the deconstructed seal with stylistic circles.
Here is the real first digital representation of what was planned for the final product of the mural, still at this point nothing was definite and it still continued to change drastically. Here you can see a compact pattern, very clustered. This pattern was a bit too much on the eyes and distracting us from the focal point of the words.
Now you can see that the pattern is more spaced out, more breathing room given to the elements and more stylistic circles added between them to keep the flow. This pattern is less distracting to the eye and we find is is easier to just focus and read the words then continue on to viewing the background, nothing is fighting for your attention.
You can see that the original design for the left wall was kept for the digital representation of the design but it was later altered in the process of creating it.
In the above two images you see the beginning of the physical process, started by painting the walls a solid goldenrod color this process was done over the course of two days to allow for the first coat to dry and another to be applied. The only area primer had to be applied was the metal heater on the left wall seen in the photo directly above.
After the paint was dry Angela used a projector to trace the shapes of the words, a difficult task when done on brick. Here we can see the projection of the image on the currently blank wall.
After tracing the words on the wall it was found much to difficult to trace all of the pattern elements on it as the projector didn't cast a large enough image. All of the elements were traced onto paper and cut out then manually placed where they needed to be on the wall and traced again.
After another days work we see that the basic shape of the words competent and ethical have been painted and purposeful is almost fully complete with the need of minor tweaks and fixes. That would be a process lasting up until completion with spots of pain landing in the letters or smudging from Angela's and Skylar's hands.
The next day the word ethical was finished and all minor adjustments currently needed on purposeful were made. Competent received a second coat of paint and was left to fry until the next day it was worked on.
Here you can see the background pattern being manually placed and traced onto the walls, we then painted them with a lighter yellow to contrast but not drastically, exactly like you can see in the digital photos.
This picture is after we put the first coat of paint in the pattern elements and finally finished the word competent with some minor adjustments to be made later. You can see that some of the elements here are darker than others but this is due to the fact some had already received a second coat.
Finally the pattern on the right wall is completed right down to the little stylized circles, all adjustments made and mistakes fixed. We were ready to move on and finish the other wall.
Here you can see the pattern and the white line painted across the left wall. The line needing a few adjustments to straighten it out and another coat to make it more opaque. At this point we are past our half way mark and nearly done with the entire mural. With the painting nearly complete our excitement for the finished product grew the only thing left was the acrylic letters and PVC signs.
At this point the painting is complete on both walls and we have started placing the items on the wall. These acrylic letters were the easiest item to apply to the wall, the back peeled off and stuck right to the brick then the front peeled off to reveal the glossy shine of each letter.
This is it! Above you can see the final product, all the PVC signs hung most of them roughly an 3/4 of an inch from the wall braced with PVC blocks behind them. This was the hardest part of all, much trial and error went into getting these signs to stay on the wall. We started off by using PVC glue to glue two, about 1/3" x 4" x 4", blocks together making them about 2/3" x 4" x 4" in size. Then we used liquid nail to glue the PVC blocks to the sings, for this we didn't want to use the PVC glue because we were told it could eat away at our softer PVC signs. The liquid nail sat for seven days as was directed then we hung the signs on the wall using Industrial foam mounting tape on the back of the PVC blocks. The two larges signs fell from the wall within an hour one just needing more tape and the other the liquid nail gave out on. We brought them back to the office and started gluing the one back together, this time using Gorilla glue. This sat overnight and then we took them back too hang. Finally the work was completed.