Some months back, I was approached by my friend Dana Vachon about any interest in having a mural made for one of the large, stark white walls. Of course! We’d been looking for ways to get more color and interest into the space for some time, and a full paint job was just a bit more daunting than we were ready to take on in our free time/off-hours.
Dana is a graduating senior from the Fine Arts program at The College of New Jersey. One of her final-term classes was a mural class, and since her and her project partner had to make a piece anyway, it made sense for us to help cover their materials costs and in return, have a piece of art for our hall.
Dana and her classmate Jess McGovern asked for input on any themes. Honestly, I wasn’t comfortable providing too much of a lead, because a) I’m anything but an artist but, more importantly, the space we work in doesn’t just belong to me. I wanted something that could be meaningful for all of us, and embodied some important themes of our work.
After shooting down an Alex Hillman portrait in the style of Andy Warhol, we talked more about themes of coworking. I explained to Jess and Dana about The Starfish and the Spider, the notion of leaderless organizations, and how that tied into the coworking model as well as the coworking movement. At the same time, I felt that it was really important to keep things themed to Philly, the city we’re all so proud to represent and call our home.
What Dana and Jess came up with was much, much cooler than anything we could have asked them to do.
Following our lead with the “Philly” theme, as well as taking the Starfish’s “unstoppable power”, and depict what we all *ahem* hope is a reality in the new future: that our actions and goals take the city of Philadelphia by the tentacle and make a very REAL impact! (Of course our version of this reality, unlike the mural, does not involve ripping the roof off of Independence Hall and carrying it across Old City to the Ben Franklin Bridge).
Editor note: This thing is huge. its 5′ tall by 12′ long. We’ve yet to get a picture of it next to something to give it perspective. But seriously. Huge. Perspective? Check it out next to my 24″ iMac, on the left.
In case you’re curious, the buildings/structures from left to right include:
- The Ben Franklin Bridge
- The spire on top of Independence Hall
- One Liberty Place
- Independence Hall (minus the aforementioned spire)
- Our beloved National Mechanics, the cause of and solution to, so many of our problems.
Dana and Jess have worked incredibly hard on this project, from the concept to the installation, and we can’t thank them enough. We’ve got a meaningful piece to adorn our walls that they should be proud of, because we certainly are!