Every once in awhile you’re asked to step out of your comfort zone and create in a different way. This past week my client was in need of a seven foot tall Lamborghini emblem. Since even Lamborghini doesn’t apply them you do the next best thing…call the artist. His desire was to have an emblem to be installed in his car garage/museum that looked as if it was an old metal sign discovered possibly in a Tuscan barn. Getting a custom laser cut wooden emblem produced was out of the question due to schedule and budget. It was decided a more practical decision would be to make it out of styrofoam since it would be seen from a distance and weight would be a factor.
Layers of foam were sandwiched and cut to shape to make the silhouette of the emblem including the letters. It was covered with layers of plaster slurry to give a surface to sand smooth. I then primed and painted the background. a chemical was added to the black to create a rust effect area. I then was given a shaped block of foam for the bull. With a snap-off blade and sanding block I sculpted the Lamborghini signature bull. When shaped and sanding completed I primed and painted the gold leaf finish. The entire process took a little over a week but was finished for his first Lamborghini party with friends in the new space.
What began nine months ago has reached it’s final leg to completion. On January 2nd I began this fifteen thousand square foot mural assignment. This upcoming week I will begin the final wall in the atrium. The last wall of this virtual Trompe L’oeil community is 17 feet tall and 250 feet long. It will complete the community of homes, brownstones, businesses and civic buildings that will complete the living area for the new independent living community.
The project was initially scheduled to be completed at the end of 2013. Due to a permit shutdown and a well-deserved vacation the new completion date may extend to a few additional weeks. Here are a few shots of some of the atrium progress complete with new landscaping.
It has been roughly six months since the first day I unloaded the many gallons of paint, scaffolding and enough miscellaneous paint tools in anticipation of the year long battle I was about to begin. I had entered into discussions with JP Quick Development several months prior when he informed me he had purchased a B.A.U.M. (Big Ass Ugly Motel) as he described it. Once a Super 8 and Holiday Inn this 150,000 square foot building would be completely gutted to its raw walls and foundation.
What would eventually bloom would be a senior independent living facility that would be state of the art for the St. Louis area. The name will be Victorian Gardens. It will be an all-inclusive living facility for residents 55 and older. It is NOT a nursing home but rather a living community for independent, self-motivated individuals who want the freedom to live and travel as they please. Each studio apartment is around 800 square feet in size. Amenities include meals, spa, pool, theater, church, drug store, lounge. salon, dining, cafe and library. All is included in the price of the rent. Just imagine a cruise ship without the water.
My purpose in being brought into this was to take 15,000 square feet of flat, white walls and turn them into a visual living community. With the use of a creative painting method called Trompe L’oeil I will illustrate the stores, home facades and businesses one would typically see in a small town community. All walls are primed white when I begin. I discuss the basic look of an area with my customer and then do a rough sketch. Once agreed upon I begin to paint. While I usually never use standard wall paint for all of my murals I have chosen high quality finishes from Sherwin Williams for all of this art project. To date the material has met all positive expectations.
The project at this point has progressed half way through the contracted twelve month term for completion. There are two remaining 200 foot plus walls in the atrium, a chapel ceiling and a few more storefronts to complete before the end of December. The job has developed it’s own rhythm of progress and momentum is carrying it through. I look forward to posting photos of actual completed rooms but at this point some illustrations are in front of raw floors, trim-less doors and missing lights. Until that day comes please look around at these progress photos.
It has been almost two months since I began this 800 foot plus project. In that time the eighty foot long City Hall was painted followed by two adjoining row houses. When the north wall is complete at the end of February I will then leave the atrium area temporarily and move into the front of the building. here I will illustrate the store fronts for the Library, Saloon, Spa and Drug Store. Moving on to this area will free up the atrium space for the landscaping and all concrete re-surfacing to be completed. In about three months I will return to the atrium to continue the row house mural. Take a look at the progress so far!
On a related note, also in this time the word that all of the Victorian Manor facilities where I have illustrated were sold to Americare. This is great news for Quick Development but on the sadder side, the word that most of my murals will be painted over by the new owners was disappointing. The new ownership seems to be working hard to make a complete separation with the old management and all of the art is on the list. At least the scenes made people happy for awhile!
Drawings have begun on this monstrous project. The first section to be illustrated is about 150′ wide and 16′ tall. While the scope initially is overwhelming, the more time I spend there helps me get comfortable with it all. All walls are built, covered and primed. Windows and doors will be installed next week. The entire area will be cleaned and sprayed. There will be nothing but my paint and I as the workmen will move on to other areas of the building! My first design for the “City Hall” will be transferred to the wall. All of the following designs will be decided upon as the project develops.
The theme of the entire space will be 1930′s small town including the City Hall and courses of row houses and brown stones. The style will be done in Trompe L’oeil (fool the eye). The walls are flat but when finished will be seen as real buildings with detail. There will be cars, people, pets and landscaping that looks real but really doesn’t exist. This will be very fun for the residents and their guests. Design of the city hall is a merge of the Kirkwood city hall meets the “Back to the Future” city hall. There will be brick, columns, carving and a clock on top. stay tuned for more progress photos!
I established Ray Harvey Art in 1986 and in that time I have created over 200 murals, fine art commissions and decorative finishes. These projects have included the installation of paintings in hotels, restaurants, offices, churches and residences. This December I will begin the largest commission of my career in terms of size and scope.
I have entered into an agreement with JP Quick Development which will challenge my artistic talents for at least twelve months. The down economy and foreclosures have been a positive for a few developers and this is the situation here. Picture a defunct Holiday Inn Holi-dome motel. Now take that structure and completely strip it out. Keep the bones but rebuild the entire structure with 750 square foot bungalows surrounding the enclosed atrium. Include a pool, spa and cafe in the controlled-climate naturally lit common space. While you’re at it, why not build a theater, chapel, health club, pharmacy, dime-store and saloon? This is the vision of the development company taking on this project.
I will be the one artist called upon to transform the 16′ tall and 500′ long atrium wall into a neighborhood setting with the use of paint. The mural will depict a 1920 row-house neighborhood complete with brown stone home fronts, city hall, trees and virtual neighbors. This is my largest “one piece” painting in the last twenty-six years. This part of the puzzle is expected to take over four months to complete. At its completion I will then move into the front area of the building and begin several smaller, yet large, murals in the chapel, theater and other venues. All together the work will last twelve months. At that time seniors will have an all-inclusive living facility they can call home. An estimate of occupation is not known at this time.
This week Ray Harvey Art received a new mural commission from Solutions For Healthcare, a designer of healthcare facilities located in Osage Beach, MO. The art will eventually installed in the dining area of an existing facility in Clinton, KY. The scene which will depict a vintage diner including celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and of course Elvis. Fun scenes as this can brighten the day of a resident and bring pride to the home. Ray Harvey will complete the painting in his studio and travel to Kentucky when finished for the installation. Harvey was asked how he felt having his art displayed in healthcare facilities as this. “First of all,” he said, ” these centers are not like the nursing homes of old. Due to the demand of care for older citizens these days there is much competition. Any way we can bring a smile to a resident and family members is well worth it. I suppose having my art hang here instead of a public museum or high browed residence isn’t quite as romantic as it could be. But image isn’t what I paint for. Watching the eyes of the viewer is where it counts. So why shouldn’t the residents of these centers get to appreciate original art. Do you somehow outgrow the eye for beauty?” To date Mr. Harvey’s largest healthcare mural actually is displayed in Mobile, AL where he created four 250′ long scenes. This new painting in Kentucky will be pretty small to Harvey’s standards but just as detailed including the characters, a jukebox, vintage signage and a window scene depicting downtown Clinton.
The painting should be in the design stage next week and is expected to be completed towards the end of November.
Viva Cuba is the beautification group responsible for the town’s mural project that has made the city known the length of Route 66. They originally wanted to develop a heritage mural project to depict notable happenings in history around the town. What has developed could never have been anticipated. There are twelve sponsored murals with many more private commissions. The city has the distinction of being named officially Mural City USA!
Now the group has commissioned Ray Harvey to bring the whole scene to life during the Christmas season. The original painting created by Ray Harvey is in the possession and displayed at Peoples Bank in Cuba. The image was also used to produce a set of open edition prints to be available to the public. This poster was presented for the first public viewing at the CubaFest celebration this past weekend. The artist was available for discussion and to sign copies of the poster. The initial sales are brisk for this art and are being sold throughout the holiday season. Details and more of the story can be viewed at this link: http://cubamomurals.com/wordpress/2012/10/cuba-the-small-town-with-big-ideas-features-its-own-christmas-print/
J Buck’s Restaurant has been a hot spot in Clayton for many years. Now it’s better than ever. The venue has gone through a major decorating renovation with an updated menu. The new menu will include a selection of house-smoked meats with an emphasis of more casual dining. The dining room has gone through an impressive face-lift. Metallic finishes, mid-century lighting and modern textures add to the contemporary atmosphere.
In the bar and meeting area hangs an original painted mural by Ray Harvey. He was commissioned by owner Doug Albrecht to create a panoramic painting depicting celebrity and sports figures from St. Louis. There are eighteen portraits spanning the width of fifty feet. Included are John Goodman, Tina Turner, Joe and Jack Buck, Nelly, Ozzie Smith and Andy Cohen among other notables.This artwork is the fourth at a Joe Bucks establishment this year.
It is official, Ray Harvey Art has received its’ latest commission for another mural for the Joe Buck’s organization. It was February when work began on the first three paintings for Joe Buck’s Restaurant downtown location. Now the Clayton venue of J Buck’s is getting a facelift and will include more Ray Harvey original art!
This painting will measure fifty-five feet long and will include around twenty portraits of sports stars and local celebrities. Some of the selected celebrities include Jon Hamm, Nelly, John Goodman, Scott Joplin, Chuck Berry and Tina Turner. The original art will circle the wall in the bar area. In addition, some large scale prints of the original three murals will be reproduced for other areas in the restaurant. The renovations are expected to be completed by the first week of September.