If you’ve driven down East Fayette Street in the last month, you may have noticed a new mural going up. Shawn James and Charles Lawrance of Mural Masters Inc have been working on their Patterson Park Chesapeake Mural along with Kyle Miller and Tim Scofield who are fabricating a matching sculptural bus bench to be installed at the intersection of N. Milton and E. Fayette. The project is a recipient of the 2016 PNC Transformative Art Prize and was created through a partnership between the artists and the Patterson Park Neighbors Association.
How did you get involved with the Patterson Park Neighbors Association and how did this project come about?
The Patterson Park Neighbors Assc. approached Mural Masters, Inc to be the lead artist on their PNC Transformative grant application. We discussed the clean water, community, and environmental cleanup and revitalization efforts that the association is undertaking and designed an aesthetic motif around it.
What was the inspiration behind your design?
The inspiration is the clean water and Chesapeake Bay revitalization efforts by the community, city, and state.
Could you describe your process for creating the work?
The process involves discussing the motive, goals, and intended audience and how they serve each other. Through discussion we narrow down a theme and then begin selecting styles to convey imagery. Then Mural Masters, via the superb wildlife painter Charles Lawrance, created a mock up for approval.
Now that painting is underway, how has the response been from the community and passersby?
The response has been tremendous. Not only do we receive constant praise and admiration from the pedestrian public, but also receive yells and honks of approval from passing auto traffic.
How has the project influenced your practice?
This project has influenced my practice by connecting me with Tim and Kyle. I’m learning a lot from them about fabrication and want to continue to add sculptural elements to my work where applicable.
What’s next for you?
Our clients vary and there are a few client driven pieces coming up as well as a couple of expressive and contemporary murals.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists who are interested in entering the field of public and community arts?
My advice to any aspiring public artist is to keep honing their illustration and arts craftsmanship. Also volunteer with other public artists to learn the ropes, the hoops you have to jump through, and the logistics of working in a large scale public space.
Shawn James is the owner operator of Mural Masters, Inc. a public arts contracting company. He is a trained artist who loves public art with an extensive background in public art creation and administration. For more information on Shawn, you can follow Mural Masters on Instagram, Facebook, or on his website at www.muralmastersinc.com.