Client: Downtown Ventures
Sponsor: Colorado Springs Philharmonic
The Colorado Springs Philharmonic, is celebrating Leonard Bernstein in their 2018 season. The late composer would’ve turned 100 in 2018, and the Philharmonic wanted to make a big statement about his contributions to music and the arts. Our mural design was selected by Downtown Ventures and installed on vinyl on the El Paso County Sheriff’s building near Tejon Street and Vermijo Avenue in Downtown Colorado Springs.
The cement grid
The installation site for the mural design was a massive cement wall imprinted with a grid of golden-ratio rectangles. We visited the building and took photos from the sidewalk, the other side of the street, the opposite corner, etc. This led to two major conclusions: First, we had to break the mural design into pieces that visually activated more space than the allotted square footage of vinyl. Second, the best way to make the piece look like permanent art instead of a temporary advertisement was to work with the grid.
The Philharmonic wanted the mural design to represent symphonic music without using musical notation. To address this, we thought about the nature of a symphony: Many pieces, each with their own identity, each complementing and enhancing the other, coming together to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts—the unity of melodies and harmonies into a cohesive composition. This is shown in the way many pieces, each with unique colors and patterns, are unified in our mural design.
Honoring a master
Doing justice to Bernstein’s life and work took a good deal of thought, as well. Like a symphony, he was an amalgamation. The color palette of our mural design demonstrates the diversity of his work: from bright and poppy to cool and contemplative.
We also took an artistic approach to Bernstein’s likeness, allowing it to display the multidimensional nature of his music and life. Finally, the use of line represents the internal and external conflicts of Bernstein’s life and the beauty that emerged from them. The idea of conflict also comes through in the quote the Philharmonic chose to feature in the mural:
“This will be our response to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
~ Leonard Bernstein
Read the complete story about the selection process and our Bernstein at 100 mural design in our blog.