One of my murals this past summer sent me in a bit of a new direction. What made this project unique was the amount of community engagement and collaboration with youth groups. This sort of community-centric process was something very new to me, but proved to be a rewarding experience.
This mural started as a youth engagement project. Kids at the Caldwell gym were given sketch pads and were asked to put some ideas to paper and explore a little bit of their creative sides. The sketches were collected and given to me, and it was my task to use them as inspiration to put together a cohesive design for the mural. It was a great experience for me working with the kids' designs as inspiration. I found that across all the sketches there were themes of community, peace, love, and togetherness. This gave me a solid base of ideas to work from. In working with the unique space ratio of the wall, I created one main focal point in the center, which I think is more impactful to the viewer than having to read a long group of images across the entire length of the wall. The group of hands embracing each other represents those themes mentioned earlier, and are meant to be a symbol of inclusivity and togetherness.
Although it isn't a direct copy of the kids' sketches, the design is a creative interpretation. The ideas that I used from their sketches were: the colourful background pattern, a fading from dark to light/colour, the idea of "helping hands", the use of mandalas (symbol for the universe, unity, harmony), and building outlines.
It was an absolute pleasure creating the piece because I got to interact with the community as I worked, and received an overwhelmingly positive response.