Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dreams and Plans

I mentioned in my last post that I was recently interviewed by a UO Journalism student.  I thought I would share that interview here.  Click here to read the short article.   The pictures below are pictures that were taken of me to accompany the article. 

I've recently been contacting other mural artists that I've found online - those whose work I admire and who seemed successful in their fields.  I've had this list of questions for them, mostly about marketing and pricing, but also some about their career trajectories.  It's been really interesting to learn about these different artist's lives and how they got to where they are today.  No one had a straightforward path to follow.  It's been difficult trying to figure out the best way to make my dream job(s) happen in my own life.  It's not like my sister's career choice (physical therapy) where there is a more clear path set out for you. You go to school, you do your clinicals, you get a stable job.  Not that that path is any easier, because it's just as much if not more work than mine.  But from what I can tell, I've chosen a path that's shrouded in fog, not lit up by street lamps the whole way.  I've been reaching out to others, and doing tons of research on the internet about mural-ing for home and business and even the public art world.  I'm not sure how I'm going to get there, but what I want is this: 

To make a decent enough living to support myself and children someday by having a career that is half made up of teaching art residencies in K-12 schools, and half made up of making murals for clients.  

That is what I want.  I know without a doubt that both of those parts do in fact make me extremely happy.  I know everyone says that they don't care about being rich, they just want to be happy.  That's true for me, too.  I would rather do something that makes me extremely happy for 8 hours a day and come home to a modest home and modest "things", than do something that makes me feel like a numb zombie for 8 hours and come home to a ton of nice crap in a big, dreamy house.  It just makes more logical sense to me, to spend your work life happy, rather than working hard and hating it so you can be happy in your down time.  That's the goal and I'm working hard to achieve it.  If I fail, at least I'll know that I gave it a shot, and then will have to look for something else that might make me moderately happy instead. ;) 

This post is turning super "journal entry", so I'm going to end it here.  But I will say that I believe there is something to be gained by writing down and telling others about your dreams and plans.  Do it.  Tell someone your dreams.

artist painting, corie hinton,
working away on a painting in my studio

artist painting, corie hinton,
my "studio"

artist painting, corie hinton, walterville school oregon
Admiring the kid's work at Walterville Elementary

artist painting, corie hinton,
Newest work out of the studio

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hoya Vine Mural

 The Hoya plant, a succulent creeper vine with fragrant, delicate flowers, has graced this sitting room for a long time.  My job, was to celebrate the plant by continuing its vines all along the big bay windows in the room.  I really loved the final look of this, especially in the areas where the real vine was growing right over my painted vines!  Another creative take on a mural with 3-d elements.  My mural clients are always amazing me with their great ideas, and I'm always happy to help bring them to life.

 I recently got interviewed by someone about what I do, and she asked me, "What do you think about when you paint a mural?".  "Nothing, if I can help it!"  I told her.  I like to listen to podcasts or music with lots of lyrics, so that my mind won't have room to start thinking it's own thoughts, but just listen to others'.  If I think too much about what I'm doing, over-analyzing, second guessing and trying to rationalize my creative decisions, it can take me out of my "flow" and ruin things.  Of course there are times when I have to really think when I'm painting, to figure out perspective or something, but I guess what I mean is that I try to eliminate negative or doubting "self-talk" that is not constructive, and just trust in my own instincts as much as possible.

Having recently been asked about all this, while I was painting this mural, I observed my emotions more closely.  When I'm painting a mural, especially a repetitive one like this one, my brain and body go in and out of a trance-like meditation.  Is this what runners feel when they are running at their best? "Bliss", "Flow", "Meditation", whatever you want to call it, I am grateful to experience it in my own way. 
Hoya Vine Mural, Hoya vine, vine mural

Hoya Vine Mural, Hoya vine, vine mural

Hoya Vine Mural, Hoya vine, vine mural


Hoya Vine Mural, Hoya vine, vine mural

Hoya Vine Mural, Hoya vine, vine mural

Hoya Vine Mural, Hoya vine, vine mural


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tree of Life Mural - Finished!!

Here it is, the Tree of Life mural....finished!!!  (I posted a bit about the symbolism of the Tree of Life here awhile back.)  I had so much fun painting this one!  I loved the freedom of working in this style and within this color range.  Clients sometimes think that it is better to give me no direction at all for their projects and that they should just "trust the artist".  While I do appreciate that so much that they trust me, it actually helps me be more creative when I am working within some sort of confines.  Give me some ideas for subject matter, show me some images of art you like, show me the decor and color scheme of your home.....then turn it over to me!  Too many restrictions however, can be limiting.  It's a balance, and this project struck a perfect one. 

The last picture in this post is one that I photoshopped. This is what the mural owner is planning on doing with this! I designed the trees branches to have space between them for family photos of all shapes and sizes.  I can't wait to see this mural when it's actually a completed family photo wall, not just photoshopped by an impatient me :)

Hope you enjoy!

Tree of Life Mural, whimsical tree mural

Tree of Life Mural, whimsical tree mural

Tree of Life Mural, whimsical tree mural

Tree of Life Mural, whimsical tree mural

Tree of Life Mural, whimsical tree mural

Tree of Life Mural, whimsical tree mural

Tree of Life Mural, whimsical tree mural

Tree of Life Mural, whimsical tree mural


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Friendship Mural with Oakridge Students

Friendship Mural with Oakridge Elementary
friendship mural, mural with kids
After my last school mural with the Civil Rights theme and working with the high schoolers, this little mural was simple, fun and quick, by contrast.  It's been a fun little piece, made by a fun little group of kids. At Oakridge Elementary in Oakridge, OR., the students do not have school on Fridays.  I've found this to be true at a couple of the more rural school districts I've worked at.  Fridays are optional. It's pretty sad, really, that the funding has been cut so severely that kids and teachers have 4 day weeks every single week.  But, at least there's grants around that allow artists and guest specialty teachers like me to come and work with the kids who do opt to come on Fridays.  

I'm only working with Oakridge for 3 Fridays, so we went pretty small with our mural project (also it had to fit within a pretty tight place in their hallway).  We worked on plywood with acrylic paint (as always - environment AND kid-friendly paint).  The coordinating teacher wanted the mural's theme to be "friendship" - pretty broad, so this simple little image is what I came up with.  Bright, fun to paint, and gets the right message across.  Plus, I've been wanting to incorporate the "hanging stars" image into something for awhile now.... my own agenda!  

To spice up the project and allow for kids getting bored and needing other stimulation for the 2 hour time block I have with them, I added a collage element for the border.  Kids decorated little squares with cut paper people, pets, rainbows, hearts, etc., that we will glue all around the border of the mural.  One more Friday to go, can't wait to see this all finished and on the wall!

friendship mural, mural with kids

friendship mural, mural with kids

friendship mural, mural with kids

friendship mural, mural with kids

friendship mural, mural with kids, mixed media mural

friendship mural, mural with kids, mixed media mural

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sneak Peek: A Tree of Life Mural

My current work in progress is a gigantic "tree of life" in a guest bedroom.  I'm loving working with the style and colors of this piece!  I think my favorite part of this mural is the fact that it's going to be a 3-d/mixed media mural when it's all finished!  In between the branches and flowers of this tree will be framed old black and white family photos!  I can't wait to show you how this looks when it's all painted and the photos go up.  How would YOU spice up a family photo wall?

The "tree of life" is ubiquitous and meaningful to cultures and religions all over the world.  I love all the different meanings.  Check it out:

"The concept of a tree of life has been used in sciencereligion, philosophy, and mythology. A tree of life is a common motif in various world theologies, mythologies, and philosophies. It alludes to the interconnection of all life on our planet and serves as a metaphor for common descent in theevolutionary sense. The term tree of life may also be used as a synonym for sacred tree.[1]
The tree of knowledge, connecting to heaven and the underworld, and the tree of life, connecting all forms of creation, are both forms of the world tree or cosmic tree, according to the Encyclop√¶dia Britannica,[2] and are portrayed in various religions and philosophies as the same tree."

(Wikipedia)


tree of life mural

tree of life mural

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Posters for Zimbabwe

This blog is about a mural project (well, more like posters) done with kids that is more personal and closer to my heart than others.  Let me back up....

When I was in 2nd grade, I started taking lessons to learn how to play the marimba music of Zimbabwe.  I played off and on with different classes and ensembles from 2nd grade through high school, and sometimes when I was home from college.  The Eugene, OR. organization that I took classes from is called Kutsinhira.  If you're in the Eugene area and have been wanting to try a new and interesting musical endeavor, they are WONDERFUL.

Yesterday, Kutsinhira had their annual membership party where all their classes get together to play music for each other, eat together, and have a meeting about what's going on with the various charity organizations they associate with.  An organizer of the event wanted to have the attending kids paint posters for the 3 Zimbabwe organizations that our Eugene community is connected to, as a token of our friendship.  The organizations Tariro, Chinhoyi High School, and Nhimbe, would all be sent posters to hang in their Zimbabwe offices.

The party was held in an elementary school auditorium/cafeteria, so I set up in the hallway so the kids could still hear the music playing nearby.  Then I rounded up some kids to help me paint!  We only finished 2 of the posters during the party, but I think they turned out bright and fun.  The important part, was that the kids have the opportunity to feel more connected to the Zimbabweans who brought their music over to us, by sharing their art with them.  Cultural Competency for the win!  Another kid mural goes to Africa!  I love it.  More please!


Zimbabwe art

Zimbabwe art

Zimbabwe art

Zimbabwe art

Zimbabwe art

Zimbabwe art

Friday, March 1, 2013

JCHS Civil Rights Mural - FINISHED!

You guys!  It's finished!  I gotta say, I'm really proud of this one and the kids who painted it.  My last couple posts were about the process of painting this - starting out with a group brainstorming and designing session, learning about mixing paint values - now it's done!  

We had about 12 students working on this project every day after school for 11 days.  Some kids came every day, some didn't.   Teachers told me that the kids who were struggling in other ways,  connected more to the project than with anything else having to do with their school that they've seen.  It's a pattern that repeats itself over and over in my short history of being an art teacher - the kids who struggle socially and academically are often the kids who need and connect to arts experiences the most.  It is SO important.  

Not only that, but to give all kids the experience of accomplishment - of success in completing something and doing a nice job on it.  Yesterday we had a big celebration for the kids to show off their work.  There was a drawing for art supplies, snacks, and the whole staff and student body was invited, and many showed up to see the mural.  I could see on the kids' faces that they were proud.  Teachers are even planning a "gallery opening" evening event once the mural is installed on the wall, where the kids who were involved can invite friends and family.  I'm excited to go to that, too.  

Overall, this one was a really rewarding experience.  I feel like the subject matter (honoring people who have dedicated their lives to fighting to help others in some way) was beautiful and the execution of the piece was beautiful as well. I like the fact that this mural will be a good teaching tool for the school's social studies teachers for years to come.  Yay!  I want to work with more high schoolers and do mooooore! Ok, now....picture storm!

oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural
The whole thing: 4x16 feet
oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural
Susan B. Anthony
oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural
Gandhi
oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural
Cesar Chavez
 oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural

oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural
Martin Luther King Jr.

oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural


oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural
Nelson Mandela

oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural

oregon muralist, civil rights mural, educational mural
YES!