For some artists, a canvas that spans 700 feet can only be found in reverie. The green walls surrounding USF’s construction site have provided that space.
Over the summer, three students completed the “Urban Tranquility” mural. With help from Fine Arts Professor, Eric Hongisto, Seniors Sofia Gonzales and Katie Kinsey worked an estimated 100 hours to create the illustration. The mural spans on Golden Gate Avenue between the War Memorial Gym and Harney Science Center.
“I wanted to create a calming, yet inviting mural with both an engaging theme and color scheme,” said fine arts major, Sofia Gonzalez.
After being approached by Facilities Management to create art for the walls surrounding the Center for Science and Innovation construction site, Hongisto sought help from his Public Arts class to create the mural. Gonzalez proposed her idea to Facilities Management last spring semester and received approval for the project.
Drawing upon the idea of city and Bay Area wildlife, Gonzalez, Kinsey, and Hongisto created a design that blended in with the surrounding environment of trees, bushes and the beige tinge of the Harney Science Center.
“[The wall] is in nature, so why don’t we expound on that theme? We’re in the state of California, which gives location to new and incoming students,” said Hongisto. The trio did research on color scheming and paid close attention to the hues of buildings, shrubbery, and neighborhood homes that encompass the wall. Donning the mural is scenery of deer, plants and the Golden Gate Bridge in neutral shades of purple, yellow and orange.
While a three-month work period allowed ample time for the project’s completion, the team was greeted with minor inconveniences from San Francisco’s inconsistent summer.
“We spent many cold, foggy summer days hand painting all the curved lines of the landscape silhouette while large trucks passed us every four minutes to enter the construction site,” Gonzalez said. Despite a few disturbances, the group managed to complete the project just in time, painting until the first day of classes.
In addition to the theme “Urban Tranquility,” other Fine Arts students from the Color Theory and Public Art classes completed the period table of undergraduate majors. The table is located on the construction wall facing Gleeson Library.
Within the next two years, Fine Arts students will be creating murals for the walls near War Memorial Gym, Parina Lounge and the main walkway near the Cowell and Kalmanovitz buildings.
One of the design plans includes the creation of a mosaic wall derived from the art of the Alhambra palace and fortress in Granada, Spain.
The wall will also serve as a public posting wall for students. According to Hongisto, all projects will be student-generated. “I would never want to do anything myself. I always want to make sure students are involved. This is a USF process,” he said.
Hongisto is open to student suggestions for mural designs. He extends an invitation to students interested in joining the Public Arts class that will be running for the next two years. Hongisto said, “We’re not trying to change the world with our art. We’re just trying to make this place look better for students for the next two years.”
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