Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Some of the Best Things Are Things I Don’t Know

It started with an online call for artists. A place in Kentucky needed a mural. With a budget in mind, this organization was looking for skilled artists. I did not know if I could do it but at least I had the artist part. I and two other artists were selected out of hundreds of others to produce a concept and mock up. I spoke with the owner of the building, another person I did not know, and he described what he was looking for.

The assignment was to design a mural for a place that I had never heard of, somewhere in Kentucky. While I did not have the measurements for this place, I had a photograph of the building, but knew nothing about the building. Due to the area, I figured it had to include a horse; which, again I know nothing about.  Despite all my unknowns, I decided to begin.

So I got started with a bunch of ideas running through my mind. After spending many days on the Internet: searching the area, looking at photos, and coming up with some numbers that would fit within the given budget, I formulated ideas for efficient means to tackle this project. The plan was to paint within the walls of my own studio and then install it on sight because the budget given to complete the mural was not large enough to support a two-month stay “somewhere in Kentucky.” My other thought was to work with a paint-by-number horse to avoid creating a horse that was not from Kentucky that I know nothing about.  Furthermore, in case I counted the bricks wrong, I would create the mural horizontally. This would help avoid unnecessary complications. Lastly, to keep within the budget, I would include some free labor from my family.

With my completed plan and work, I ventured out to the Unknown and began to learn. I learned: This place in Kentucky, that I had no idea where it was, was called Lexington and was ten hours away. Furthermore, Lexington is home of the Kentucky University.  Ironically the University’s school colors happened to match the same blue that I chose to put into my mural. While I still know nothing about horses, I found out that people in Kentucky invest a lot of money in these animals and can tell them apart as well. Another thing I became aware of was that the wall was longer than I realized and not as high as I had planned. However, it was not a problem because it is easier to cut from a work then to add more to a mural.  I also discovered that the building, which I was painting on, was a great restaurant. In their hospitable manner, they treated my family and I to delicious food the whole time we were there! Lastly, I learned of my ability to work with my family; and while I am an ok boss, I could use some patience as a father


  1. Aw, you're surely a great father, along with everything else you do so well.
    Got pics of the whole event and finished product?

  2. thanks Hylla. you can check out the progress on a video on youtubeI made of the trip. I'm still posting them.

  3. Jeff, I've been following you'all for days, and now have my classes reading the posts and watching the videos. So glad you noted the variables/unknowns of taking on this project, and how you set a budget, utilized the family, and incorporated it all into a productive, fun and educational trip/project. The act was art, and now the evidence of the mural will live on as documentation of that activity. Congrats to you'all !!!!

  4. thanks Jane! that is awesome i really appreciate you sharing my story and hope others can benefit from it.