Monday, July 26, 2010

Perspective String

This is a mural in Progress. Thomas John Carlton, of J.C. Art School fame is painting the mural on the side of what I think is called the Power House Art District Lounge. It is down there on Marin Boulevard. The place is supposed to open before fall. Thomas will be doing an interior mural for the establishment as well, which he said will be more expressionistic. The exterior mural replicates the skyline of this downtown nook of abandoned factories and warehouses. He estimates it’s about 60 percent done. I happened to be walking by in the early evening on Saturday. Thomas said he couldn’t work in the afternoon sun for very long, not just because of the brutal heat but the building’s exterior wouldn’t hold the paint correctly when the temperatures go to the recent Heat Wave levels. He was using a “perspective string,” affixed to the far corners of the mural. He told me this is used to size in proper perspective the mural images from the center of the painting to the vanishing points at its periphery. All the buildings are sized to scale, not just to the scale of the exact expanse of the side of the building, but the perspective of an imagined viewer, recreating the buildings to the size they would appear at throughout a sightline that begins atop the buildings depicted in the foreground. Actually, the sightline begins outside the frame of picture, on top of the non-depicted parts of those buildings where the imagined viewer would be looking from. This mural renders not just something actual—the specific buildings and streets—but how those things appear from a specific point. Look at it long enough, you realize that the specific point of initial observation is imagined as well—the viewer is really observing both the buildings recreated in the mural and the perspective that viewer of the mural. In fact, you see that perspective no matter from what exact spot you view the mural. The size and position of the buildings create the feel of reality, a faux reality. I love the rail tracks and cobblestones. He was adding black lines of varying thicknesses to create the cobblestone. Heard somewhere these cobble stones are the last authentic cobblestone roads in Jersey City. Don’t know if that is true or not, but in the mural they serve to enhance the 3-D effect.

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