Everybody has seen someone posing in front of a pair of wings. Photogenic murals aren’t entirely new. It’s a way to engage people walking by and an invite to take a moment for frivolity. There’s hundreds of angel wing murals around the world and it’s a beautiful message every time. My wings, however, are adapted and inspired.
I’ve always thought these were cool and toyed with how to use them. The first couple times I did this weren’t a huge success. I snuck clever photo angles into the Falafel’s Drive In. What I learned here is if they’re small features, they’re missed. I do love the Guy Fieri photo bombs on Instagram.
Later at Montgomery Elementary School, I put a selfie-able large moon with lunar rover and footprint into our History of Flight. First of all, the students are not supposed to be able to bring cellphones to campus so I should’ve thought better of it. Secondly, if you can’t publicize it because of the atmosphere, you’ve wasted a lot of time entertaining yourself and the teachers. It’s okay. It’s still a neat trick.
A large scale illusion and full wall murals can do a lot to trick the eye with the scale, or size, you paint. Sadly, these are a little off limits and we can’t publicize these. The underwater optical illusion wrapping the full length of Dr. Navarro’s Dentist Office is quite spectacular for photographs and selfies. Aasha’s Pediatrics is great for photos as well while you’re distracting your patient waiting for the nurse or doctor because there’s a centerpiece over every exam table. The photogenics and angles, however, were unintentional. Though awesome for selfies, the public doesn’t belong in pediatrics doctor’s offices unless their your children’s doctor. You most definitely don’t belong taking pictures of kids during uncomfortable dental exams. But, hey, mom, look how long I can hold my breath.
At Life in Willow Glen, located on Lincoln Avenue, I purposefully programmed the old fashioned Television set to take a selfie in 1950’s Lincoln Avenue. This was a hit after I pointed it out to people. What I didn’t anticipate was the elation over the neon Willow Glen centerpiece. I’ve never seen girls drop their handbags so hard. This OMG phenomenon taking place in front of my property owner, spectacular. In this instance, I wish I brought the Willow Glen neon down to the ground level.
If I couldn’t do my historical timeline for Eastridge Mall, I was going to have to fall back on my modern art and develop full walls with meaning meant for photography. The wings we’ve all seen lack a little something. It’s the middle and the background. You wouldn’t photograph them on their own without a person standing there. By creating a centerpiece you can stand in front of as well as photograph on their own, you provoke people to pull out their phones. It’s not as simple as just big to make a photo op happen, though. Subject has a lot to do with that provocation.
For me, these all represent different sides of San Jose, but I’ve already discussed that at length. What I think San Jose as well as, if not more so, East San Jose and Evergreen need some identity and a little confidence boost. San Jose is awesome. Why is it only the Sharks we boast? What the world needs is love, so let’s start that at home. I’ve wrapped my W shaped area with overwhelming displays of San Jose affection, past and present.
What’s been outrageous is the reaction and the immediate engagement to all 4 “photowall” murals. Every time I finished one of these, soon came the photographers behind me. I even had purse drops. People asked me to get into their pictures and I adore a silly moment. The love from Eastridge goers has been pretty universal but not all have time or desire for a photo shoot. It’s spectacular because I believe public art should be for the public and not difficult to comprehend or get in touch with. I had people explaining to me on #heartofsanjose where their houses were. People told me about their baptisms at St. Joseph’s Basilica or about their pre Sharks game traditions. On #valleyofheartdelight, people who grew up here mention their nostalgia for orchards everywhere. People living here in Evergreen and working elsewhere appreciate the city they work in being represented in #heartofsiliconvalley. This series makes people pause for one reason or another.
The photo murals here are the first series of photo walls created and we’re going to continue to activate them with social media and programmed details. Here’s a slideshow of all the love our San Jose inspired photowalls have inspired already.
The major mention here, goes to @veganninjawarrior, who found the best angle to photograph #heartofsiliconvalley.