ARTISTIC IDENTITY : THE 100 FOOT MURAL INSTALLATION & BOOK
This project began a watercolor portrait series where JJ Ohlinger painted portraits of his friends that were actively involved in the Greenville, South Carolina arts community—everyone from sculptors, actors, musicians, potters, educators, and patrons, just to name a few. In total, he painted 47 people connected to the Greenville arts community.
“I love projects that start off as one idea and then turn into a collaboration that keeps building on top of the original idea until you end up with something that you would never have expected and never would have gotten to as a solo endeavor,” said Wayne Culpepper of the collaboration, Artistic Identity, with watercolor and tattoo artist JJ Ohlinger.
Culpepper had the idea to photograph the subjects next to their finished paintings in the exhibition space. He planned to stitch the photographs together digitally creating a giant virtual tour style panoramic image of the exhibit space. He ran a line parallel to the wall that he moved his camera and tripod down as he photographed the subjects so the images would line up in the final merged panorama. He then digitally stitched all the photographs into giant panoramic prints totaling 100 feet in length. The camera focus was locked on the paintings and the subjects were photographed at various planes gradually getting softer as they moved closer to the lens to create an even greater illusion of dimension for the final composite—with some portraits sharp near the paintings and some soft, close to the lens seemingly popping off the wall. After the prints were mounted like wallpaper, Ohlinger painted a background layer of graffiti behind the portraits creating yet another layer of dimension in this unique multimedia collaboration.
“Many of the faces on the wall are people who introduced me to the possibility of exploring my passion. They are who I seek when looking for inspiration and they are some of the individuals who are defining this growing arts community,” said Ohlinger.
“I’m sure it’s been done before, but I’ve never seen artwork created with this process. In the end, we had a photograph of a person next to their painted portrait that was then digitally stitched and printed as wallpaper. Once mounted, it was painted on with graffiti-style spray paint, and lastly, the resulting artwork was photographed to create the book,” comments Culpepper.
The 100-foot mural installation wrapped the walls of FishEye Studios in Greenville, South Carolina for several years. The mural is now available for a new temporary or possibly permanent place to be installed. Interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the opportunity of displaying the mural.
The project was picked up by various media including this article by the Greenville News:
Here’s a TV segment on the project CBS-WSPA’s Scene on 7 show. Video courtesy of WSPA News 7:
Artistic Identity, the limited edition book made to document the project, is available as a 12×12 hardback coffeetable book and as a 7×7 softcover. The first print run is sold out but to get on a list for a future print run email email@example.com.
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