Matriarchy of the Sea
2011 mural in La Perla of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Painted in five days with help from the neighborhood kids, the family of the home,  artist and community coordinator Aydasara Ortega, and a special thanks to Ruben Rivera for painting the spirit of the Ta√≠nos into the sun.

Since I only had five days to complete this mural, I worked with a geometric design of ancient images: the sun, the waves, and bees.  Each step in the mural from sketching, filling it with paint, to stenciling the worker bees; the kids did the same on the small wall to the left which I dedicate to them.

Outside the Yes Farm in Detroit, Mi
Painted in December of 2008, when I missed the sun. 
Photo by Garrett MacLean

Mural at Toque De Queda: a space for art
in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 2008-2009

Front Entrance Mural at Roosevelt Primary School 
in Pleasant Ridge, Mi 2009

Birds! finally

The Rainbow

touchups and taping circles into triangles

The sun finally.

The Earth facing the Great Lakes
Mural In Progress
Before Shot

I have been painting a mural for Roosevelt Primary School in Pleasant Ridge, a small town touching Detroit. The mural is the first thing you see when walking into the front doors of the school. They commissioned me for a painting about diversity. The original request was for different colored children holding hands across an abstract world. I think of myself as too far artistically advanced for such an idea and came back to them with this:

The world to scale with the great lakes facing front, a sun rising behind it and silhouetted birds flying above it. Each bird is different and depicts the national birds of many different countries. An eagle will be the only bird with faint detail. I figured that since diversity exists because of the migration of humans, I am still on track. Another important conceptual part of this mural, which is a personal underlying exciting fact, is that it can be used as an educational resource for geographic identification and social understanding of diversity through the metaphoric migration of birds. or something of the like. It is obviously not completed yet, but I will continue to update the pictures so you all can see the process.

Today I finished the mural. 7:06am I arrived at the school, last night's summer brew still slept in my mind, sloshing around to remind me of all the water I should have drank instead. Midnight chosen triphop mix wobbled down the halls while I touched-up whole continents and the pacific ocean.

My heroes showed up in perfect timing with donuts in hand, I smiled deep from the recent decision to only purchase coffee and skip the breakfast. I finally understood that yet again fate and hunger could be compared.

I want to put a huge shout out to the most enjoyable team of collaborators I've worked with, each artist really knew their strengths. I especially want to thank Nan for her continuous influence and drive, you are a true inspiration.

Nan is a friend and incredible teacher I taught with last year, she is the one who hooked me up with the mural project at Roosevelt Primary School. She is currently volunteering a lot of her time to teach the high-risk kids how to knit at this school. What an amazing mind that woman has on her, she organized and selected fantastic parent volunteers and her whole family came out and charged to the end. I wouldn't have made the deadline without the help of her and her family. Because of them, the mural definitely holds the PMA.