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|Street Sense set mural (image 2)
This image shows another section of the Street Sense set mural, John's first collaboration with The Cleveland Public Theatre in the early 1980's, and the theatre's maverick artistic director James Levin. Street Sense was directed my Steven Pickover from the New York Metropolitan Opera; the musical libretto was scored by Cleveland's Linda Eisenstein.
Notice how sweat, blood and tears "pour" unto the stage. The image of 'Jesus Christ' on the right received much notice by the audience and was reproduced several times in media articles. John even had a request to paint another one for a client, but being already bored with the work, he politely refused.
To complete the murals (and construct the sets) in a short three-week deadline, John used cardboard and cloth as extensions to the theatre's hard plaster walls. To execute the murals he used a combination of artist's acrylic paints with regular "house" latex paints, which he applied with brushes, rollers and a spray gun.
After the completion of the opera's stage run, the murals were painted over to make way for the next set in the theatre's line-up. These pictures of the Street Sense set murals shown here on this website are the only visual record of the work. This is fortunate since no other record of most of John's early work survive.
Note: to learn more about John's experiences in set design and construction, please follow this link to 'Set Design' in the Design Page.