The inspiration behind the Orange Walls series
I painted the Orange Walls series in 2021 on some randomly acquired large sheets of mixed media paper (26″x40″). I was craving something big and bright. This is how I usually start creating anything, with a sudden craving or a borderline obsession with a color or a subject. At that point, I really have no underlying idea. The idea keeps forming in the process of making, reading, and searching for references. Sometimes I spend hours-on-end scrolling through Pinterest trying to ease my hunger for visual stimulation until I almost reach the point of sensory overload. And then… it explodes on canvas!
In the year of 2020, when the entire world was hunkering in isolation, I was obsessing over cacti and brightly colored walls typical for Latin and Mediterranean countries. Cactus was the name of the game for many classes during the kids’ art camp I ran that summer. We would paint pink, or blue, or add flowers and experiment with different ways of painting spikes. It was really fun!
I aqcuired something big and useful!
Sometime that year, I acquired a mobile stylist station from a local beauty salon that sadly went out of business like many places did that year. It was the whole story of how we brought this thing home! It weighs nearly 1000 lb and it barely fits under the garage door! But it has storage on 2 sides, slide-out desks, round holders (originally meant to hold the hair drier and hair brushes), 2 electrical outlets, and 2 large flat mirrors on either side. I covered the mirrors with the pegboard and it turned out a great standing easel for large format paintings!
Why is it significant? Because it allowed me to start working big (or at least bigger than I usually did) and use those large sheets of paper I mentioned at the beginning. And those sheets of paper turned into my Orange Walls series.
I collected a number of reference photos of brightly colored walls with windows, stairs and contrasting doors. I also collected photos of cacti I liked for their shapes and colorations. I played with ideas in my sketch book but I couldn’t really get the wall texture in a small scale sketch. So I just decided to go for it ind see what happens.
For a while , I was just throwing paint around experimenting with different shades of orange, using a natural sponge and adding charcoal to get the old dusty look. The cracks on the plaster started appearing here and there. And I thought that these walls are definitelly not in the wealthy suburbia, they are probably in some alley in the busy part of the town. They must have been graffitied and painted over multiple times.
Writing on the wall
Why do some peole write messages on the walls? Just like that on a whim with a piece of charcoal they write something that makes no sense to anyone who’s passing. Why was it so important for them in that moment to express themselves that they didn’t shy away from vandalizing someone’s property? What emotions do those messages carry? Excitement, hurt, frustration, lust?
I started adding those writings to my orange walls. They are sattle, out of focus and make no particular sense. But they are actually the stars of the show because they give those walls life and history.
The series includes 4 large original works on paper mounted on the board, they are still available for purchase. I added 12 miniatures on wood which have all been sold by the time of this blog post.
I have shown this series at the Little Italy ArtWalk in San Diego in 2021 and individual pieces at the group shows in local galleries.