Monday, December 13, 2021

Diptyque a diptych

Diptyque: Prince @ Mott NYC.

To be honest the Diptyque email was barely saved from my trash folder. I was sure it was some kind of scam as it was international, came with attachments, and a text that launched into an improbable story. In fact, looking back on it, the whole thing seems like a dream.  Fly from L.A. to New York and paint a mural thought up in a Parisian design studio in an interior designed by a London architecture firm. The thing is all my projects have a slightly preposterous quality. Needless to say once carefully read I realized this email was completely legitimate. 

Design concept w/drawing reference.

Finished mural.

Mural in progress.

George Haussman gave Paris the look we associate with Paris and the Prince Street Diptyque interior was conceived of as if it were a classical Haussman apartment albeit with some ingenious twists. That includes my mural which at first glance looks like a maniacal kid ambitiously scrawled on the walls, even part of the ceiling. But if you’re thinking Cy Twombly or Julie Mehretu you’re on the right track because these ambitious scribbles are in earnest and the height of sophistication. 

Mural with store installation.

Mural with store installation.

It’s the whole package. The mural, the chic urbane interior architecture, the coveted corner shop at Prince and Mott in Nolita, it all works together so beautifully which is why I said yes to the project. It’s atypical for me to paint a mural not of my own design or at least as a collaboration but I was sold on the idea especially given the 3D rendering. The inspiration is from an original sketch by Desmond Knox-Leet, the painter and one of the founders of Diptyque. And the notion of taking his scratchy little jot and rendering it mural size: brilliant.

Mural close-up.

Ink, watercolor, gouache on paper 2013 

Ink, watercolor, gouache on paper 2011

Ink, watercolor, gouache on paper 2011

Ink, watercolor, gouache on paper 2017

Metaphorically like a diptych they live side by side; my commission projects and my studio practice as a painter. I take techniques and ideas I develop in commissions and use them in my own work and vice versa. Sue and I established a procedure and found tools specifically for the Diptyque mural. The project was recreating Desmond’s work though it could have been based on one of my own gnarly paintings/drawings. It’s my working method to make a watercolor sketch to scale when planning a mural commission so I think of all of my work as potentially panoramic. Scrappy sketchy scrawls, check, I’ve done that. You have a wall; I have an idea.

My Kiawah Island mural (studio view) 1997.

Related Posts with Thumbnails