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I’m very excited to share a wall mural I created for Ace Hotel recently! It was a great honor being asked to be among the small group of artists who’ve contributed murals to the hotel in the past.
Opening in NYC last year, with locations in Seattle, Portland and Palm Springs, Ace is known for its hipster and motorcycle chic aesthetic. The lobby buzzes with lots of people, furniture, music, laptops and espressos. Their café, Stumptown, has gained lots of praise, along with their British gastropub, The Breslin, which is run by the owners of the Spotted Pig in the West Village. Oh, and Q-Tip spins every Friday night. Not bad, right?
While brainstorming in the weeks before, it was important to ask some larger questions before I started my sketch: What’s its relevancy? What’s its importance? Can it become engaging or participatory? Having an idea for a mural that’s both relative to the space it exists in and reflective of the culture around it is not an easy task to accomplish. However, I felt it was something I had to account for.
With those questions in mind, I hand drew 99 picture frames to create a dense wall of “discovery” about NYC that could be passed to the common tourist staying in the room. Each frame contains a different fact / love / tidbit / thing of interest / or shout-out to a place I dig in the city. At roughly 120 square feet, the art was drawn imprecisely to capture the spontaneity and grit of the city. I used paint markers and opaque black paint to help this technique excel. Consequently, it became a labor of love, an act of obsessiveness that was pleasantly grueling.
I send a huge thanks to the Senior Producer at Ace, Jou-Yie Chou, along with the awesome people at the Art Directors Club. Also a big thanks to Andreina Carrillo, who diligently assisted me in the beginning.
And finally, my sincere gratitude goes to the amazing Brian Rea, who graciously kicked my butt and prepped me to make sure this wasn’t a huge failure. The challenge of translating a paper sketch into a successful wall mural would have been impossible if it wasn’t for his invaluable advice. I am not worthy, Brian. Thank you.
Click photos to enlarge.
Photographs by Mark Dye.