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Artists Wanted: Barrio Mural Design Contest

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Press Release:

Barrio is a new restaurant opening in Downtown Columbus.  The restaurant is looking for an artist or group of artists to design and paint a mural for its vacant wall.  Barrio is located at 185 N. High Street on the Northwest corner of Spring and High.  The vacant wall is extremely visible from High Street.  It stands approx. 112′ wide and 56′ high on the South side of the building facing the Elevator Brewery.  The competition is open to all artists that reside in Columbus, Ohio.  Barrio will provide the winning design with supplies to paint their mural along with a house account to Barrio’s restaurant and bar.

Applicants for this contest should provide images of their mural design and images from their portfolio.  In addition to images contact information (age included), and a brief artist’s statement should be added.  The competition will only accept images that are sent in the form of jpeg’s, illustrator file, or a Power Point presentation.  Please email applications to marketing@barriotapas.com.  The application deadline is March 20th, 2009.

Details to this contest are subject to change.  Please visit www.barriotapas.com for updates.

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30 Responses to Artists Wanted: Barrio Mural Design Contest

  1. drew
    drew February 20, 2009 9:37 am at 9:37 am

    First thought – cool idea.

    A few questions/concerns, though-

    -Is there really any point on that building that is 56′ tall?  I’d recommend double checking that and also providing a photo of the area in question to entrants that is as close to perpendicular to the wall as is possible.  Maybe even put dimensions on the photo.

    -I think it’s highly unlikely that the person who provides the best concept illustration will also be able to execute the mural in the media provided and at the (HUGE!) scale desired… from what I’ve seen, they’re simply two different specialties.  There are several companies in Columbus that specialize in large scale murals and are happy to work from a source illustration… PM if you’d like contact info.

  2. barrio
    barrio February 20, 2009 1:33 pm at 1:33 pm

    Drew,

    I appreciate your comments and concerns.  The highest point of the building is the front which is listed at 56′ on the blue print.  However, the wall is shaped in an L shape.  So that 56′ height is cut in half towards the back of the building.  

    The person coordinating this project has experience working on mural projects and can gauge what applicants are capable of executing a project of this scale.  

    I’m confident Columbus’ artist community will come through for this competition.

  3. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 20, 2009 9:21 pm at 9:21 pm

     I am a Muralist and I must say that this is an awfully large project for someone to be painting for some food and beers. In addition, you are asking the artist to design it in advance for free and maybe they will be chosen for the project. How much time and effort will someone put into a design in which the award is free food and some beers? Even if someone does bother, they will have to go up 56′( a lot higher, scarier, and more dangerous than you might think- it’s windy up there), you need to carry specific insurance (which I do), but I assure you most artists do not. You need to rent and be able to operate an articulating boom, and you must carry insurance for that as well, or use elaborate (and heavy and difficult to assemble) scaffolding, also requiring insurance. Over the years, I have come across many people who have considered similar  ”competitions” for getting a piece of art on the cheap. An artists sweat and blood is at least as valuable as any other laborer, and actually more valuable if you take into account the education and specialized knowledge. Would you hold a competition for your drywall guy? Would you offer him food and beverages as payment instead of money? How about your wait staff or managers? What? Not even your dishwasher? Didn’t think so. If you place such little value on art, then why bother with a mural at all?

  4. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 21, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am

     I just wanted to add: It never fails to amaze me the disparity between ones desire to look like they appreciate art and culture versus ones desire to invest in it. Judging from the $elaborate$ renderings of your concept, there is no doubt that you have $resources$, but simply do not regard art as a worthy investment. Columbus businesses never fail to disappoint with respect to the amount of money they will spend on furniture, lighting, and design in general and yet nothing on art. Our own Children’s Hospital just underwent a multi-million dollar addition in which the chairs alone were $600 a pop, but when they approached me for a mural, they offered to pay for half of the materials AND THAT’S IT- like it was some kind of honor and opportunity for public exposure! I wish that artists would wise-up and stop letting business people trick them into thinking that they are doing them a favor by “allowing” them display their work. Not only are artists squandering their soul and giving their hard work away, but they are also perpetuating this art-has-no-monetary-value attitude that pervades the conservative business community of Columbus. 

  5. efilsitra
    efilsitra February 21, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am

    amen! it’s the same with musicians, just because we like what we do (im both a visual artist and musician) should NOT mean we have to suffer monetarily. i went to four years of art school to train me in being a PROFESSIONAL artist. college, where most people go to get a degree and then work..u dont go to architecture school and then go design buildings for free!

  6. mike0878 February 21, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm

    Very well put Ohio_Artist. There is no way I would attempt doing a mural at the Idea of free food and supplies. I have done several murals in the past and they are completely consuming, physically and mentally. Now one option for the Barrio Restaurant is to not actually have the mural painted on the side of the building but have it printed on large vinyl banners and hung from the side of the building. This is how I accomplished a racing mural in my home town. I did one large painting on three separate canvases and they were photographed/scanned and printed and hung on the side of a restaurant downtown – much like this situation here. I was still paid $5000. However, if someone was to do a design in illustrator using vector art on a much smaller scale, it would have capabilities of being enlarged to any size while still working small.  Then the time spent creating would be much less than a painting and the monetary expense for the restaurant would be much more affordable. All in all, the artists should still be paid something other than supplies and food.

  7. Bailey February 21, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm

    I’m a jewelry artist, so my working scale is sooooooo much smaller than a mural artist’s scale, but I get the same thing — “give us a piece of jewelry and we’ll put your name in the program.” That program certainly doesn’t buy any stones, gold or silver. If the electrician gets paid, so should the mural artist. And the jewelry maker.

  8. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 21, 2009 2:56 pm at 2:56 pm

    mikeo878 and bailey, thanks for your comments, but, mike0878, I think Columbus has enough giant digital prints, what with all the billboards and ads and all, not to mention these days we are saturated with an abundance of images that look like they were designed in Adobe Illustrator. While there certainly have been some interesting ideas explored with the medias you mention, I tend to regard these technologies as an infringement upon the arts and leveling the playing-field between talent and technician, and blurring the distinction between creativity and adaptivity. Suddenly, everyone has a niece or nephew who is a “great” artist and will do the job cheaper than hiring a professional, though I am not disputing whether you are or not a pro, mike0878, you cannot deny that graphic communication has become more homogenous and sterile since the advent of Illustrator, Photoshop, and Digital Printing, and the Internet. In 1975, there were 6,000 known still-spoken languages on the planet. It is said that in this decade there will remain less than 200. It is happening to art, too.

  9. Walker Evans
    Walker February 21, 2009 5:13 pm at 5:13 pm

    So how can Barrio change this contest? I’m hearing a lot of complaints about it (and you all have good points)… but where are the solutions?

  10. PaulVolker
    PaulVolker February 21, 2009 8:44 pm at 8:44 pm

    There is a point at which mural painting stops being a mere art project and starts to become a major undertaking. Does barrio know that there are city graphics ordinances? Whatever design they choose still has to be approved by the city. While I agree that art should not be given away cheap, one mustn’t underestimate the enormous long-range payoff that comes from having one’s work dominate part of the downtown view. The mural I painted with Jill Hurley for the campus store Trade Winds http://www.columbusart.com/artscene/tradewinds.html was very good for my career even though my name wasn’t on it. You can program a machine to paint a mural. But if one is able to use a mural to further one’s career as an artist, this is worth more than any restaurant could pay. Take Barrio out of the mix for a moment. Imagine instead if you just saw the wall and wanted it.  Wanted to conquer it, just because it was there. This is how artists need to think. What that wall needs is a giant Columbus cow,  with Hamburger Wendy riding nude, and all 12 apostles following behind. That would be a true masterpiece. I think I’ll go talk to Barrio on monday morning.

  11. PaulVolker
    PaulVolker February 21, 2009 9:07 pm at 9:07 pm

    How can Barrio change the contest? They need to separate the award for the best design from the actual production of the mural.  Award some $$$ to the artist for the winning mural picture, then work out the details concerning how it’s going to get done.   The artist can direct a crew of 30 people who are out of work.

  12. NikosFyodor
    NikosFyodor February 22, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am

    I’d have to agree all around that it seems like this whole thing could be a lot more trouble and work for the winning artist than it’s worth. I’ve worked with a bunch of guys in the past who would probably do it in exchange for food and drinks, but they’re not the kind of artists who will stick to a design or plan.

    I may still submit a design, but like some of the other artists that have responded I am wary of the attitude that pervades in this town that artists do not deserve to be paid for their work. Making art, despite what anybody may think, is work. And painting a mural of this scale is hard physical labor that requires specialized training and a good head for logistics. Not all artists necessarily have these skills.

    While in some regards this mural might provide great exposure for an artist, the amount of time and energy it will take to complete may not balance out with lost revenue.

    As much as I would love to see my work at such an expansive scale and in that prominent of a location, my advice to the owners of this restaurant would be to hire a professional that knows what they’re doing. Maybe they could still have the design competition, but pay someone with experience to execute the winning piece.

  13. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 22, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm

    Hmm…well, to those who think making a large mural in downtown Columbus would be good for their career, I would say, it might lead to a few more commercial gigs, but there are not any talent scouts looking to pick you up for it. And what is a few thousand dollars in your lifetime compared to your self-respect? I can say without a doubt that I have painted more murals in central ohio and across the country than any other artist in the area and it was not because someone saw my other murals somewhere, it was because I pounded the pavement and networked, something most artists would rather not do. Having a mural or two up somewhere does not do it for you. 

    This is also a matter of principals and solidarity among artists(don’t laugh). If you succumb to the parameters they are offering for your own (imagined) gain, you have done a disservice to the art community at large. The enormous(hyperbole) long-range payoff of a mural on the side of a building in downtown columbus is contingent upon the mural remaining there long-range. The average mural can withstand the elements for about 10 years, and most get painted over when the building changes owners. Keep in mind that the average life-span of a restaurant concept is very short(I certainly do not wish this upon any business in Columbus, just keeping it real). The Mona-Lisa in the Short North has been repainted 3 times(I did it the third time). When I started painting murals, I did not give them away. I painted a bunch of them in my apartment, photographed them, and marketed myself.

  14. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 22, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm

    Good morning. Let me start by expressing my feelings about art contests. I think there should probably only be two kinds. The first is the kind in which the artist is asked to submit existing work not created specifically for the contest (existing work) ,and, the second kind of contest would be a design competition but limited to smaller design issues, such as logos or stamps, or tee shirts- projects of relative simplicity. large scale murals fall outside of these parameters for three reasons.1- they are usually sight-specific or thematic, requiring design. 2- They might inspire very elaborate design-work, and for that reason, 3- they exclude artists who do not have the free time to produce that kind of work on spec, thus greatly shrinking the creativity pool they will be drawing from, or effectively narrowing the design possibilities to only those that are simple, or excludes time-consuming methods in which designs may produced, so you end up with either a lot of photoshops and illustrator designs, or simpler graphics, thereby missing out on the majority of creative possibilities that are out there.
     
    So, that being said, what should Barrio do? Well, instead of holding a design competition, they should conduct portfolio reviews. (Now, if an artist has a great idea and they have no prior mural experience, they of course can choose to design something, but that is up to them.) They could hire the artist based solely on their portfolio and prior experience or, from this review, they could select three finalists. These three would then design something for the wall and be paid for their efforts a minimum of $500.00. The winner gets the gig, and gets paid to do the mural, maybe not the full amount of what such a project should cost, which i estimate to be between $17,000.00-$35,000.00, but perhaps between $7,000.0-$12,000.00., and, maybe throw in that food and bar tab, too. The runners-ups designs could be displayed somewhere in the restaurant.
     
    Keep in mind that there are still insurance issues, scaffolding/ man-lift issues, proper preparation of the substrate, supplies and materials. Also, zoning, and Commission considerations as well.
     
    I do hope that the Barrio people will continue to pursue this mural, as columbus sho doesn’t have enough of ‘em. I just would like them to do it in a way that is ethical and does not perpetuate this attitude that incredibly hard work has no value it involves creativity.
     
    ……….
    Curtis Goldstein

  15. NikosFyodor
    NikosFyodor February 22, 2009 1:44 pm at 1:44 pm

    Not to beat a dead horse, but there are definitely ways that the owners of Barrio can approach this that would make all involved happier with the end result.
    I personally love to eat and drink, and theoretically like the idea of bartering my work for goods and services. However, with the economy being in the state that it is I (like many of my fellow artists in Columbus) have to hold a day job to make ends meet. The side of this building is massive, and even with a lot of help it would take a long time to complete. Especially for artists not experienced with the issues aforementioned by Curtis.
    Help would also be hard to come by for a project of this nature. For a non-profit public art endeavor it is easy to come by volunteers (CCAD students for example often have to do service hours as a condition for their scholarships). For a commercial endeavor like this, it would probably be a lot harder to get any free help, especially not any skilled help.
    Curtis brings up another good point about the life-span of the restaurant. It would be sad to see so much time, energy, and material go into the finished product only for it to be painted over within 5 years.
    My suggestion to the owners would be to get more outside interest in the mural. Get people from the greater Columbus community to jury the competition, get the owner of the building to agree to a period of time (10 years or so) that the mural would be allowed to stay on the  building, and agree to upkeep of the mural. If you can get the greater community involved and in love with the project there is more of a likelihood that it will A) be allowed to happen in the first place, and B) actually function as an added piece of “public” art in the Columbus landscape.
    Because of the size and location of the wall, the project may actually come under the jurisdiction of the Public Art Commission, despite its being on private property. If that is so, then they will be much more likely to approve the project if it has the support of the public.
    I have found that projects are seldom as easy as you think or would like them to be. As business owners focusing on opening a restaurant, I think Barrio may have bitten off more than they can chew. I honestly believe that they have their hearts in the right place, and I have no wish to hinder public art in Columbus. But that is part of the underlying problem, as it stands right now this will not be a piece of public art. It will be a piece of private art within public view.
    If I were in the owners place I would ditch any idea of having it fit their theme, and instead concentrate on contributing a great piece of art to the citizens of Columbus. Maybe turn the whole project over to a non-profit like the Brickstreet Arts Association who has experience getting public art projects from the start point to the finish line. (Disclaimer: I am a BAA board member).

  16. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 22, 2009 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm

    Nikos, it is not a dead horse but rather an embryonic one. I, too am a BSAA board member and, while I grow weary of art projects being over-complicated by bureaucracy when a monied private investor could simply pony-up(like Jack and Zoe Johnstone did for the Poplar Park Totems and Sandy Wood has done many times) Nikos is right-on on many points. They could make this a public project and turn it over to a 501/3c, but in doing so they would be hard-pressed even when the economy is good to receive public funding being a business and all. They would have to theme the mural to address social or historical issues and prove that it contributes to the greater good and caters to a needy demographic. You would also have to be able to show that your artist is selected and has an outstanding level of expertise. You would have to commit to a minimum 10 year maintenance agreement. As an upscale restaurant this shall be like fitting a camel through the eye of a small sewing implement. We did it with “cliff-dwellers”, but the economy was strong. Still, we fell 35% short of funding. oh, yes, not to mention it took over a year. This year, city and state government agencies have denied funding to mural projects that address all the aforementioned issues and are on public property( I won’t mention the project, Joe). One more thing, as far as community membered jurors go, I have witnessed the tragic results of that. A certain central Ohio community organized a jury to select a muralist recently. what they ended up choosing was disappointing, and I mean that most euphemistically. It is not snobbery to insist that a jury be comprised of impartial arts professionals with excellent credentials, like the selection committees of any other profession. I believe our Columbus Arts Commission would be up for the job.

    At any rate, I would be willing to bet that, despite all the ranting by us(me especially), this mural project was probably a mere afterthought on the part of their marketing department. If not, then they should pay to play :}

  17. barrio
    barrio February 23, 2009 9:08 am at 9:08 am

    Sorry I didn’t have a chance to monitor the chatter on this topic over the weekend.  I hope I haven’t missed the opportunity to respond.

    First let me begin by saying that I appreciate the concerns the artist community has with this project.  This project started as an idea from artists who are friends of the owner.  They saw a large blank wall and saw an opportunity to infuse some cool public art into Downtown.  Yes the wall is large, however, not all of it has to be used if the artist doesn’t find it necessary to.  We understand that there are some artist who are not in the position to participate in this project and we appreciate their situation, however,  we already have significant interest from mural artists who are interested in the competition as is. 

    It seems the biggest concern is compensation.   As of now we do not have the funds to compensate artists for this project.  We simply don’t.  We are in the process of speaking with co-sponsors who may be able to add a cash prize to this competition.  If that is the case we will inform CU and other media outlets as soon as it happens.  

    Secondly, the owner of Barrio also owns Due Amici, and he co sponsored the Streetspace murals in Pearl Alley downtown.  So he has a track record of supporting artists, and he is continuing to do so by providing an opportunity for artists to exhibit their talents and skill in a high profile setting.  

    As one muralist told me, it would be a travesty to not take advantage of a legal wall as big as this pay or no pay.  

  18. drew
    drew February 23, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am

    Barrio-

    Understand that my comments are coming from the perspective of someone who has specified his fair share of murals and has some understanding of the difficulties related to it.  My observations are intended to help.

    Your building is *not* 56′ tall.  It just isn’t.  I’ve driven by it several times recently, I’d be surprised if it’s much more than half that height.  Remember – it’s a 2 story building.  Does each floor have 20′+ ceilings?  Are there massive voids between each floor? Try this – look at any exterior door.  They are almost always 7′-0″ tall.  Count how many doors tall your building is.  It won’t be 8 of ‘em.

    The only reason I’m harping on that is because it’s critical for the artists to know the true size of their ‘canvas’.  There’s no point in putting effort into something that won’t fit.  Really, you need to provide complete dimensions that show where the drop down is on the wall as well.  I’m sure you’ve got a lot to do and it seems like an annoying issue to deal with, but – garbage in, garbage out.  You want good results, give good information.

    Secondly, I mentioned the distinction between conceptualization and execution for reasons that should be obvious by now given the discussion that has occurred on this thread.  You’re asking a *lot* out of someone for free drinks and tapas.  Think of it like this – the muralist you spoke to who said it’d be a travesty to leave the wall blank even if it meant doing a mural without pay – why isn’t *he* doing it??  I’d guess the answer is either a) all talk, no action, or b) you question the quality of what he can do enough that you opened it up to other options.  Either way, there’s a lesson in that.

  19. barrio
    barrio February 23, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm

    I will double check the wall height.  That is a valid concern.

    Again.  We understand if there are artists who are interested in the competition but are not comfortable participating in this project as is.  Those artists do not have to enter the competition.  

    We will keep CU and other media outlets updated with any changes in this project.  Especially changes that concern a cash reward.

  20. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 23, 2009 2:21 pm at 2:21 pm

    O.K.  
    I do not think the Pearl Alley project was a bad thing, I guess it just boils down to what you would like to see happen to the Columbus vista. If you ever get a chance to visit a big city with public art, you will see a large variety of mural-work. The kinds that you see reflect the style, demographic, or socioeconomic level of the neighborhood, or the personality of the businesses that they are sometimes created for. The style of the Pearl Alley mural was appropriate for where it went, and I am glad that art with this kind of feel is being made around the city(especially nearer to campus). It adds to an urban flavor and suggests that columbus, like other hip metros, possesses a vibrant underground. 
     
    The visual success of a city demands variety, but also organization. It does not take a very sophisticated eye to see the fluctuation of styles as you leave one burrough and enter another when walking the streets of New York. While graffiti and other youth culture types of art are an important part of the urban landscape, and I look forward to seeing more of it, sometimes a more sophisticated, avant guard, or elegant type of art is more relevant to the setting. Not to sound stale, but sometimes even an historic theme is appropriate. The name “Barrio” suggests a latino urban neighborhood theme, or, more broadly, an urban neighborhood in general. With all of the upscale downtown condos being slowly-but-surely populated, what will the demographic of the neighborhood be, and what varieties of customers are you trying to attract, and to what degree do you consider that relevant?
     
    Drew, If they aren’t planning on paying for the mural, then taking measurements is the least of the artist’s concerns. Whoever is willing to do it for next to nothing is not going to be the kind of artist that “plans” much. These folks spent a mere pittance on the Pearl alley project, and in return got a lot of press( I remember it well), and now they cite that project as a proven track record for their support of the arts. I would be interested to visit the owner’s home and see their impressive art collection, given their proven track record.
     
    Now that Barrio has responded, some of their statements make it clear that this was indeed an afterthought. It was not even something the owner thought of. By referring to our responses as “chatter”, it is a tell of how trivial art and artists (or, at least their opinions) are to whomever wrote the response. If it is their desire to “infuse some cool public art into downtown” as they say, then by cool, do they mean free, or cheap looking?  They say, “they have significant interest from mural artists interested[sic] in the competition as is”. I doubt the “as is” part, or why would they be looking for a cosponsor? I doubt the “mural artists” part, too, because no real mural artist would be interested in the project as is. Define mural artist! Everyone’s a mural artist- my grandmother is a mural artist. I’ve got a cousin… Their response ends with, “As one muralist told me, it would be a travesty to not take advantage of a legal wall as big as this pay or no pay.”  The use of the term “legal wall” gives you insight as to the kind of artists and art they are familiar with, which explains their liberal use of the term “muralist”.  
     
    Business people always tell artists that by giving them their art, it is going to be a great opportunity for their career. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told by clients, even after we were in contract, how “this important person” and “that important person” was going to see my work. You see, they use this line because they think it will get you not only to do the job on-the-cheap, but to give them your best work. I can also tell you that of  the hundreds ( that’s right- HUNDREDS) of times I’ve heard this, maybe a dozen or so led to more work. Remember, artists- most business people think they are smarter than you and, in the case of dealing with money, they are.
     
    All of this being said, I wash my hands of this situation. It’s a story as old as civilization.

  21. drew
    drew February 23, 2009 2:51 pm at 2:51 pm

    Ohio_Artist – did you read my final paragraph?  As a designer, I’m no fan of businesses taking a ‘something for nothing’ attitude towards creative work either.

    I guess my bigger point was that there is a process to this stuff, and to me it looks like:

    Brief -> Concept Illustration -> Mural Execution

    Each step in the process informs the next step, so if the brief is bad, the concept illustrations will be inadequate.  If the concept illustrations are bad, the mural itself will be inadequate.

    To me, if the terms of the freebies are adequate, then it would be worth it to an illustrator to do concept work for it.  But, to do concept *and* mural painting seems pretty unrealistic to me.

  22. Eddy Monday February 23, 2009 3:52 pm at 3:52 pm

    To Ohio Artist, the streetspace murals received a grant from GCAC to compensate the artists.  I don’t think $15,000 is a mere pittance to compensate 10 artists from all over the country.  Other private businesses, such as Due Amici wrote checks to help pay for supplies and transportation, food etc.  It seems that Ohio_Artist is more concerned with pontificating on why the project won’t work instead of coming up with solutions on how it can work.  It is a hater’s mentality and its the type of mentality that unfortunately one too many Columbus artists have.  I agree compensation is ideal for a project of this scale.  I did see Barrio mention that there is the possibility to find a co-sponsor to help pay the artists who win this project.  However, there are artists out there who are still hungry and ambitious enough to take advantage of this opportunity as is.  I know artist like this, who are qualified to execute, and I am encouraging them to enter the competition.  I

    It seems that Ohio_Artist is trying to protect his own business as a self proclaimed muralist, and I don’t blame him for that.  However, trying to encourage artist not to take part in a project such of this magnitude is selfish in my eyes.  

    I also question what you consider more sophisticated or elegant types of murals?  The Mona Lisa mural?  The impressionism mural on the Burgunday Room wall in the Short North?  If that’s what your interpretation of sophisticated and elegant is then I respectfully disagree.  I would rather see something a little more original than copying old Masters paintings.  I’d rather see a series of large Banksy like stencils on a wall like that.  

    People reading this thread should know that Ohio Artist is not represent the consensus of Columbus’ artists community.  A matter of fact I only see 3 dissenting voices in this thread, that’s hardly the majority of the artists community. 

  23. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 23, 2009 8:00 pm at 8:00 pm

    eddy m. you’re right on many points. i’d rather see original art rather than copies, too. unfortunately, if art continues to be undervalued here we won’t see too much of it. hopefully, as we grow as a city there will be an increased trust in the creative ideas of local artists. in the past it seems the majority of people willing to pony up with cash have been conservative in their tastes. it was hard enough to convince people to accept the bellows reproduction at 641 n. high, you know the painting you mislabeled impressionism? well, some folks did not want it because it was not a famous painting, regardless of the fact that it is by george bellows, a great painter, FROM COLUMBUS, related to the ASHCAN SCHOOL. very controversial for their time ( and still would be if they were making work today and trying to sell in commercial galleries), they depicted the underbelly of urban life. you know, slums, which is what is depicted in the mural- right in the middle of the gentrified, overpriced short north which has displaced people just like the ones depicted in the mural. but i’m sure that a spray-paint stencil of abraham lincoln pushing a shopping cart would look much better there and make a much more obvious statement. who needs nuance anyways? 

    i’m sorry if you want to label me a hater. it is not true. i love art and the folks who make them. i want to see them flourish in my home town, and not taken advantage of. aside from all of my pontificating, if you look  back 9 submissions, you would see that i did offer a solution. i am sorry but, unlike you, it goes against my morals and ethics to recommend to a young artist to allow themselves to be exploited. i do not think i am being selfish by trying to inspire solidarity among artists in a local climate that has been continuously disrespectful towards the arts. hell, this town can hardly support a symphony. who ever heard of such a thing in a city of this size? we also are one of the few large cities in the country without a percent for art policy, eddy m. and, yer d*mn right i’m trying to protect my business. i’m trying to protect the business of art , period.

    Eddy monday says, “People reading this thread should know that Ohio Artist is[sic] not represent the consensus of Columbus’[sic] artists community.” this is absolutely true. it would be interesting to know what the columbus artist’s community does think. eddy m., would you be willing to share your polling results with us?

    to those whom i have offended i apologize. but sometimes pills are bitter and difficult to swallow.

  24. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 23, 2009 8:23 pm at 8:23 pm

    ooo, i re-read what eddy m. wrote, and voila! the gcac paid for the pearl alley project, but due amici pitched in a few dollars along with a bunch of other businesses. my bad. curious that the barrio folk left out that info. i guess that does mean they have an established track record of support for the arts;} (incidentally, i said due amici paid a pittance, not gcac. i believe that would still qualify as a valid statement). you know, in all honesty, i really don’t care what gets painted on that wall. i just want to see the artist(s) get P.A.I.D. maybe gcac will fund this mural, too. there you go- a solution!

  25. NikosFyodor
    NikosFyodor February 23, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm

    To an extent I agree with Curtis. I have been offered various “opportunities” over the years that would supposedly help my career. Early on I took people up on these offers, and each time I was taken advantage of. I have a decently developed bullsh*t detector thanks to these regrettable incidents, and have taken a very hard line on what my time and my work is worth to me.

    Almost every artist that I know has had some kind of bad experience with people that do not respect the inherent value of art and artists.
    I don’t necessarily think that this is the case here, and I think that people are getting a bit repetitive with their arguments (myself included).

    It sounds like the owners of the restaurant are trying to come up with a solution. I don’t think that they thought through the logistics before announcing the competition, but after reading the posts on this topic I believe that they are painfully aware of not only the concerns of artists, but also of the realities that such a large scale mural will entail.

    It’s hard to say if Eddy Monday was unaware of the fact that Curtis painted the murals that he singled out for derision, or if it was an intentional dig (although Curtis mentions his hand in both murals in earlier replies). What is undeniable is that Curtis is a professional and knows of what he speaks when it comes to the various issues of painting such a large wall. It would be a mistake to completely dismiss the points that he is making. Especially the liability issues.

    I hope that Barrio can get the project going. Without having a percent for art program in Columbus our best bet for more art in public view comes from the private sector.

  26. Eddy Monday February 23, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm

    To Ohio_Artist, I respect your work in executing the Bellows mural and touching up the Mona Lisa.  Although, the subject matter is not what I consider cutting edge or that interesting, I still respect your ability to execute the mural.  I actually like George Bellows, however, I can see his paintings at the CMA, and if an artist as talented as you can reproduce a Bellows on that scale it would be nice to see the community support your efforts to produce something original. It just seemed like you were shitting on urban/graffiti murals in your previous comment.  So I just wanted to check that.  I apologize for the dig.

    I actually organized the Streetspace project from head to toe, with the help of Craig Dransfield and Ashley Puckett of Chop Chop gallery.  The project would not be possible without Chop Chop, GCAC, and it wouldn’t have been as successful without the extra $1,200 check Jeff Mathes of Due Amici wrote.  Still I wouldn’t consider that a mere pittance.

    You are correct artists are undervalued in this city and many other cities in this country.  Barrio’s competition is by no means ideal, however, they are not being malicious by any stretch of the imagination.  Artists often approach business owners to allow them to paint on their walls to secure their property from being sloppily tagged in exchange for some exposure for their talents.  This is a fact, its a mutually beneficial relationship thats been going on for years.  Does this undervalue the work of muralist like yourself who are use to being fully compensated?  Perhaps.  But this is a free market economy, and some artist find value in having the opportunity to get exposure for their craft.  Outside of markets such as NY, LA, and SF I don’t know of markets were artists are consistently making a living painting murals.  I understand your frustration of not finding a fertile market for your services in Columbus.  However, attacking a business owner who has good intensions in trying to give artists some exposure is simply misdirected aggression.   

  27. Ohio_Artist
    Ohio_Artist February 24, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am

    To Eddy Monday, Thank you for your last posting. You are right when you say that I was on the attack, and probably undeservedly so. The situation just brought up a lot of issues that I felt needed to be addressed in writing in a forum where other artists might take the time to read. This percent for art thing really hurts Columbus. I’m sorry if it seemed like I was dismissive of urban/graffiti murals. When I first began to see that they were popping up around town, I was overjoyed. I have been here 42 years and seeing this happen has actually contributed to my decision to remain here, even though my family is always begging me to join them out in L.A..  I paint images of Columbus and a lot of graffiti finds its way into my work. I envision an urban landscape saturated with murals like that, mixed in with all sorts of other art. My wife has been following this thread and she thinks I’m nuts. Maybe I have too much time on my hands. At any rate, I’ll lay off and I wish everyone goodwill and the best of luck.
    And, Nikos, Thanks for the compliments. I think a large design by you would look awesome on that wall!

  28. Eddy Monday February 24, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm

    Hey, I’m glad we can agree to disagree, or maybe we’re agreeing now.  You know its issues like these that makes me miss Ray Hanley even more.  Ray was the President of GCAC before his unfortunate death several years ago.  Anyway, he was a fierce advocate for compensating artists, and cutting through the bureaucracy to do it.  I’m sure he would of jumped in this debate and found the funds to make it whole.  Even if it were out of his own pocket. 

    Again I respect the presence you’ve had in the Short North, and I hope I continue to see more of your craft around town.

  29. cozmosjones March 8, 2009 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm

      That’s it! You guys are spending too much time whining and stroking your own and each others egos. You all have great points, yes, but I will do the damn mural, and show how to do a painting that the city will love and I will be happy with the time with the blank wall. Yes I love to conquer blank walls. And the painting will last 100 years.  I Love South American food, and I love Columbus, so I’ll git’ ‘er done! You all can stop by and watch how a painter works, not an artist.

  30. Coreroc
    Coreroc April 13, 2009 9:39 am at 9:39 am

    Any updates on selections? Will this even happen?

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