Designers | Brandy LeMae & Ivan Patino
Client | Ann Arbor Art Center
Photographs of Michigan state symbols (dwarf lake iris, green darner dragon fly, apple blossom, robin, brook trout, white pine, and white-tailed deer) were used as a reference for this colorful, abstract mosaic mural. It would be installed in the 3” deep recesses in the proposed retaining wall. Using a combination of matte and iridescent tiles, the installation would create an undulating, visually stimulating, tactile artwork which is also reminiscent of the glimmering surface of the Great Lakes.
The tile would be installed after the concrete has completely cured. First a sealer would be applied and the tile would be secured to the wall in a bed of thin-set mortar. Local tile artisans will be hired to assist with the installation.
The colors of this mural are based on photographs of Michigan state symbols (dwarf lake iris, green darner dragon fly, apple blossom, robin, brook trout, white pine, and white-tailed deer). Prior to painting the colorful, amorphic shapes, woodcut style images of apple blossoms, a robin, a deer, and a trout, a dragon fly, etc. would be masked on the flat concrete wall leaving a discrete outline of each symbol in the painted mural.
It would be painted on the uniform surface after the concrete has cured using exterior grade paint. The entire mural would then be sealed with an anti-graffiti coating. Local arts groups and youth would be invited to help with the painting.
This concept is based on an unnamed mural that the citizens of Ann Arbor are very fond of. In 2010, the mural received attention because its original painter was commissioned to retouch the aging piece of artwork. Today, the mural receives considerable social media recognition and it is not uncommon to see people photographing the iconic mural. According to the knot.com, the Mural is also the most popular location in Ann Arbor for engagement pictures. Our concept pays homage to this piece of Ann Arbor history by creating a modern version.
The proposed installation consists of etched metal plates depicting authors that are popular in current culture. The authors’ faces are composed of text from their novels. The metal plates are securely installed on the flat concrete retaining wall, which is painted black but fades out at the edges. Included on the wall are quotes from the authors’ novels. The sidewalk includes additional quotes from the authors, along with their names.
Since the authors’ words are what made them famous, their faces are composed of their writing. Unlike facial features which can be forgotten, the text can transcend time. Their physical attributes are not what is important here, but their stories and what they convey. If selected for this project, we would be happy to discuss which authors, words, and quotes should be included in the final version as well as the specification of materials to meet the budget. The metal panels will be fabricated locally.