Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Designing A Mural To Tell Cincinnati's Story

What do you get when you take three visual artists, a screen printing guru, a visionary, and over 1400 photos and stories from across the city?


...I’ve never been very good at jokes. Sorry. :/

All (failed) jokes aside, working as part of the design team has been a once in a lifetime experience. After hearing so many incredible stories at the Photo Harvests and perusing the amazing photos submitted with Krista, three artists working on the mural design met on one of Clifton’s rooftops.
The rooftops of Clifton
Each equipped with our own artistic process, aesthetic, and background, we spent a lot of time talking about what the project meant to us and wondering how we were going to merge our very different perspectives into a cohesive piece of art. It could have been a mess, and to be honest, I listened my fair share of doubts from people who heard about what we were attempting to accomplish. But, as it turns out, our diversity has made us--and this project--stronger. Instead of clashing, we found that our individual talents and approaches complemented one another. I had never worked in a digital medium before, but Marjorie’s digital design background, Photoshop expertise, and talent as a teacher brought the rest of us up to speed in no time. I love connections and tend to see everything in terms of systems of possibilities, so when I looked at the rich body of raw material we had been given, I saw a beautiful sum, not 1400 parts. It provided us a framework and starting point. Laura, with her incredible eye for detail, was able to hone in on the individual photographs and collage them in compelling compositions that honored each photograph while creating fluidity between them. All these pieces together gave us a vision and direction for the mural that we could have never achieved individually.

The idea for a template that we began with...
We brought our design ideas and first few finished neighborhoods to Krista, who loved it and urged us onward. Then we met with Aaron Kent of DIY, who took our digital designs and spearheaded the process of turning them into physical screenprints. Again, without their individual perspectives and talents, the mural couldn’t have gone forward. And without everyone’s written and photographic contributions, we’d have nothing to create with. CSM is truly a collaborative effort that represents the power of what can be accomplished when we don’t try to put aside our differences, but instead embrace and utilize them in a unified effort.

A sneak peek of what's to come!

Guest post written by Cincy Story Mural design team member, Missy Miller


  1. This looks so amazing, all the hard work and dedication SHOWS !!