Thursday, June 28, 2012

I love murals: Finding Home

This mural is called Finding Home and was created by and for the homeless. It is located at  21 S. 13th in Philadelphia.

Again I love the varying experiences when far away to up close.

And the meaning imbued by it's creators.

This is the front and around the corner is much more. The large letters at top say IN, as in Invisible.

Eww, what's this? It's lumpy and odd.

Oh cool, it's woven, then painted.

Listen to the artist and she will tell you that the homeless wrote their stories on each strip of fabric before it was woven in. "I carries the spirit, the message, the hope, of all the creators." Not my favorite treatment but very meaningful. 

On the side it says visible...

...and dignity. Being seen and visible gives dignity to humans.

All coming together to make things grow. I am someone, you are...

...are me together. Finding Hope.

Finding love

Finding family

Up close on one of the many black and white photos of family life

Bracelet up close. Prisoners helped create this mural.

It's what the homeless feel.


Friday, June 22, 2012

The new buzz word is Engaged

In the corporate environment being "engaged" is the new buzzword and means being an employee who is involved, focused, energize and committed to the work you do.

For an in-house design group this is especially challenging. So much is design-by-committee, the highest paid person's opinion (hippo) often overriding expert design opinion or user research results, and lack of appreciation for the value designers bring to the company.

The studies say having a best friend at work is an important part of feeling committed and engaged. Many conversations in the office (and laughs) have centered around this idea. And once I understood and paid a little more attention to friendship and being a friend, my own outlook improved a bit.

Here are a few more drivers to consider...connect, shape, learn, stretch, achieve, contribute:

Feeling Blah About Work? Don't Blame Your Boss--Get Engaged

I'll have to say appreciation tops my list. Mark Twain said "I can live two months on a good compliment."

I agree.

Well, maybe not two months.

What keeps you engaged in your work? How do you increase engagement in your design team?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I love murals

The reason I love murals so much is that they are two experiences in one...the traveling-quickly-catch-a-glance experience and the up-close-and-personal-with-the-artist one. They almost always have several levels of messages and they are free art for everyone.

My daughter and I recently walked the Philadelphia Mural Arts "Mural Mile" walking tour (with those gigantic museum cell phones for punching in codes to listen to descriptions). It was more like 3 or 4 miles, with detours for ice cream, drinks of water and resting our feet. We were tourists in our own city on Memorial day weekend when everyone else was at the shore. It was kinda nice to "have the place to ourselves".

We learned that there are 3,000+ murals in the city, both private- and public-sponsored, produced over the last 25 years. There are books to buy but seeing them in person is an experience like no other and we got to listen to the stories too.

First we stopped to get tickets at the Gallery shopping mall and learn a little of how murals are made
It starts out like paint-by-numbers for the undercoat.
The grid was used to enlarge and transfer the design from a smaller version, just like you learned in school.

Then the artist blends and creates the painting.

Another example partially finished.

Then we were on our way. It was like a treasure hunt with a map. Of course, my photos cannot give you the same experience as in-person on foot, but here's a go at it.

This one at 13th and Market is called "The Tree of Knowledge" by Michael Webb.
I love how it blends with the building above. All those bricks are painted to look like the bricks above.

Murals usually have social, political or historical messages.

This gives the idea of scale. Like I said, it's a different experience from afar than...

...the experience close up.

Being a tourist in your own town is a must. We do it all the time. Don't miss what's in your own backyard.

I have many more to share in upcoming blog posts. In the mean time enjoy these resources:

Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
...on Facebook too
National Museum on Murals and Mosaics - search the database of 1,757 Philadelphia murals
Other views of the Tree of Knowledge