THE SEWARD MONSTER MURAL
Good morning. Sorry for leaving you without a new post for a few days.
You guys certainly had fun while I was away. Look at all the great stories
you posted for Monsters 167 and 168:
I’ve been on the road these last few days, placing two big monsters in the town of Seward, Nebraska. Prof. Paul Berkbigler invited me to teach a workshop for his senior graphic design class at Concordia University. When I first started taking my act on the road about 7 years ago, I spoke at the Nebraska chapter of AIGA and had such good memories of the trip that I immediately said Yes. I also said “Hey! Let’s do a mural!” Because that was a lot of fun the first time I did one with AIGA Arizona, 17 months ago in Tucson.
The guys at Concordia put up a lovely page about the whole thing on their site right here. Their staff photographer Dan Oetting took some excellent photos of the painting process, and put them together in a little Flash presentation. It’s got music, so if you’re in the office, you might want to mute the sound in the bottom right corner:
What it doesn’t show you is the final mural. For that you’ll have to scroll down, or you can click on the thumbnail to the left and turn to Lance Schwartz at KOLN/KGIN in Lincoln, Nebraska, who filed a great report for the local news. That way you also get to meet Paul, Max Wake of event sponsor Jones Bank, and Brenda Ard, one of the students from Paul’s class, who—honestly—did most of the actual painting. Not just Brenda, I mean, but the whole class: Brenda, Kaylee Conrad, Jacob Cooper, Laura Knibbe, Ashley Lenz, Madelyn Lorenzen, Tannon Osten, Michelle Roeber, Lindsay Souchek, and Brittany Tomsick. Thank you to all of them, also for the hard work they did on the assignment I gave them in class.
Mark Anschutz very kindly donated the front of his building for our little painting adventure, figured out all the logistics, and kept us on track with advice and action throughout the process. He also got in on the painting with a number of volunteers from the faculty and the community at large: James Bockelman, Donald Dynneson, Tim Oliver, Philip Perschbacher, Brock Shaw, Richard Wiegmann, William Wolfram, and Jeff Voehl. After the students and I had declared the piece finished Friday afternoon they — as I found out the next day — snuck into the studio and started on a second coat of paint to make everything look just a little bit more even and vibrant. They were there until 1AM and continued the next morning and through the afternoon. Painting elves! Can you believe it?
Of course, once I saw that we weren’t finished after all, I decided to change the color of the type, so everybody pitched in to repaint all the letterforms one more time at the last minute. That’s good humor right there. (Thank you for your patience, everybody!)
The mural went up on the building as I raced over to the campus to set up for my talk that evening. Cory Berkbigler took pictures of the finished thing, so I could unveil it as the highlight of my presentation. Teamwork all over the place.
The talk itself was a hoot, and led to an unexpected pre-launch of the Monster Book. The university bookstore had gotten its hands on 30 copies, which sold out before I even took to the stage. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s a good omen.
It was a great experience that I’m grateful for. I certainly had fun, and I hope that you’ll enjoy the final result. You can click on the image for a bigger version.
Oh, and the monsters glow in the dark, of course.
Did I forget to mention that? Why do they glow in the dark?
Because A. Paul’s indefatigable students applied six coats
of phosphorescent paint, and B. because 344 LOVES YOU