Sunday, March 29, 2009

Out of the alley and into the office

As I am working on ExactTarget’s current expansion, I am reminded of the laborious process that was “The Wall.” The wall was a project I spearheaded during their last renovation in the Spring of 2008 on the 4th floor of the Gibson Building at the corner of Michigan and Capitol. While presenting the look for the interior of the space to Axis I proposed commissioning some local artists to design and install a mural along a 115’ long corridor that separated the open office from the public spaces. I had just seen a great opening at Alias in Fountain Square the month before and found myself freshly hopped up on stencil art. I pulled out a couple of my Bansky and Fairey books and started explaining what I wanted to do. The thought was to make the corridor a stark transition between the highly illuminated, airy office that over looked the city skyline and the electric colored public spaces. In hopes of pushing this social transition in a visual way, I minimally lit the corridor, built a 10’ high wall that closed it off from any natural light and introduced a solid black carpet.
With the closing of Alias gallery (a real loss Indy!) I knew Holly and Dave Combs would be available to help me get this project off the ground. I have always been a fan of Dave’s stencil work, some of it hangs in my house, and I knew from some of their past shows and contacts that they were going to be able to deliver a pretty amazing product. The only thing I told the artists was that the wall had to be the coolest thing they have ever made. I wanted a layering of smaller projects, with some more polished looking than others. We were throwing around all these crazy ideas until I was thrown a wet blanket…
Soon after I was given the green light to get the project going I was informed that there was a hang-up with using spray-paint in the building. Uhhh, graffiti artists, no spray paint. This was going to be interesting. My un-composed, wall of mini murals quickly became a more refined statement piece when we knew it had to be installed with a bucket of paint and a brush. This also meant we needed someone talented with a brush and comfortable working on a huge canvas. The Combs invited Justin Cooper. I have followed his work for the past 7 years and I was very impressed that he was going to come save the day. And save he did!
The following are some progress images. While the mural is miles from what was intended, it is still an impressive install and provides ExactTarget a little street cred.
Early progression of concept sketches.

Michelle Pemberton and I come by to check on the progress and snap these photos. Holly is afraid I am going to change something... again.

The team: Justin, Dave & Holly

Dave Combs getting down and dirty.
Justin joked about having a crush on this particular subject.
Dave and Justin paint...

...while Holly models with the moon man.

Finished product photography by Polina Osherov.

To see more pictures from this project visit my website, they are listed under the INTERIOR DESIGN tab.


Craig said...

man, i love justin's work. good to see him work at this scale. kudos to both of you. said...

JC is so the man.