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|The CMHA building mural
This mural work was designed by artist and CMHA employee Hector Vega and executed by John on an exterior wall facing the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority administrative building in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
The painting is over seventy feet long and about thirty feet high. The artwork represents a gallery of the agency's most successful projects by their architectural branch -where Mr. Vega works as a graphic designer. Using Hector's design as a guide, John made the necessary changes to make it mural worthy while maintaining most of Hector's artistic style.
The design was approved in early spring, the funds were ready by the beginning of the summer, but in true bureaucratic form, the mural did not received the green light until the middle of fall when cold temperatures had already set in. So John erected tubular scaffolding, attached security cables to the wall (so the wind wouldn't topple it over), and then wrapped the structure in weather-proof tarp. Completing the set up was a kerosene heater to provide a measure of warmth.
The biggest challenge in this commission -other than the weather, was the bad state of the brick wall. The mortar was crumbling between the bricks and water from the roof was slowly filtering in some sections. Also, several previous layers of paint were slowly chipping away.
After pointing these problems to the powers at be -and learning that there were no additional funds forthcoming to have them corrected by a mason, John had no remedy but to power wash the wall, fixed some of the most offensive gaps in the mortal, and then apply three coats of heavy exterior primer (probably the most important element for a mural's longevity).
Once the surface was thus prepared, John executed the commission with the assistance of Miss Andrea Karsic, an art student who wanted training as a muralist. The painting was done using Sherwin Williams metal-enamel paints, a water-base formula that, while of a limited colour palette, is very resilient to the ravishes of sunlight and the weather.
For additional anecdotes about the creation of this mural, please go to the 'Current Works' page of this website and then clicking on the following entry:
1998 "CMHA & Panorama Travel Murals" (covered under 'Lewis Apartment')