Several months back, I was asked by the Spartanburg Art Museum board to be part of a project called Lighten Up Spartanburg. For the project, 25 six-foot tall fiberglass light bulb sculptures have been commissioned by the Museum and will be given to local and regional artists, architects, and designers to paint, sculpt, or otherwise decorate or re-imagine. Once the bulb sculptures have been turned into works of art, they will be installed in outdoor spaces throughout Spartanburg.
The first three artists were hand picked by the museum board. I was honored to have been one of those artists. Being a muralist, I came home excited. I grabbed a pen and paper and started brainstorming. I sat there rolling through possibilities. For at least 30 minutes I had nothing! All of a sudden it came to me! I started drawing out my first (which would be my only) idea. I was going to turn this light bulb into a hot air balloon with "drawing manikins" riding in the basket, while drinking champagne. Brilliant, yes? Maybe?
It was easy as pie to draw out and imagine, but I wasn't painting on a wall. I was painting on a round, tall, multi-proportioned surface. Now I have painted pools, walls, vans, ceilings, floors, grass, glass and even a person, but this was different. It was cumbersome to say the least. It was hard to maneuver; up and out, in and down. Not to mention, painting a basket on the raised, rolled surface of the base of the bulb. What I thought was going to be a couple of days of work quickly turned into almost a months worth. For the balloon surface I decided to paint a park scene of the Shadowland Characters (Remember them? We will get back to them later.) playing on the yellow brick road while hot air balloons raced in the background. Once the 15 coats of everything I painted were complete I sat back and appreciated my creation. You should always remember that some of those "that will be a breeze" jobs, wont be.
The first 3 bulbs should be installed in downtown Spartanburg by late October or early November. If you see bulb on a weekend venture or out meeting friends after work, please come back and let me know what you think of my effort. I am really proud of this piece!