Sunday, August 12, 2012

the bare bones bar

last night i painted my friends' bar.  their daughter's first birthday is coming up and barbara (owner-operator of sovereign catering in greater lafayette) wanted her porch cleaned up and presentable for the party.  but the 'bare bones bar' that her husband, shae (a local metalsmith) and i built a couple of years ago was looking pretty rough.  it's just a plywood outdoor table with a bar level on it.  simple.  cheap.  and easy.  but it has served its purpose that last couple years.  it's been autographed, drawn on, drank on, spilled on, spit on, and generally suffered the heavy and rough use of the pirates that hang out on that porch.  it was time for an overhaul. 
shae and barbara are beach folk.  they love the sand, sun, and sea; their favorite place to visit being key west, the laid back island community in the florida keys.  so we decided to bring a bit of key west to the shores of the wabash river.  i cut a bunch of stencils and chose the color palette.  shae and barbara cleaned and primed the bar, and lacquered in the bar top with all its signatures and drawings.  then after i got off work last night, shae and i got cranking on the mural.  this was the first time shae and i have collaborated on a piece.  he and i were in college together, me working on my MA, and him finishing up his BA, and taking graduate level courses in art, while at purdue.  shae was always a fan of the airbrush when he was laying down glaze in ceramics, so putting down a fade in spray paint came pretty naturally to him, even though he's never used spray paint to create a work of art.  i commend him on his skill with a can, because i've seen many people think they can pick up a spray can and create magic, and it turn into blobs of running nastiness.  

shae starting in on the first layer of the sunset
getting the fade right
what we accomplished before domino's arrived with some deliciousness
so at first i played director while he laid down the color fade in the sky.  then we masked in the horizon line so we could have a solid, straight place for you eye to go.  and after a break for dinner, and the disappearance of the daylight, we started in on the imagery.  i cut out a disc to use as the sun and then a couple of different stencils to use as the reflection in the water.  

after dinner we set in the setting sun
adding in some reflection in the water.
time for the big stencils to come out and make their more-than-a-cameo appearance.  shae had never used a stencil before, so i handled much of the spraying of them.  but he had to try his had at it.  and after a couple of over-sprays, he had it going pretty good.  i saved a couple of heavy drips, but all-in-all we got pretty clean images, with very little noticeable over-spray.  we filled in the bar's new logo which i created out of bones, fish, shells, a fish hook, skulls, and a life-preserver, then painted in the pirate ship, the beach and the trees.  the finished piece is very airy and open.  you can almost feel the cool ocean breeze and hear the waves washing ashore.  barbara is going to finish it out by dressing it up with some netting and LED lights under the bar top and some island-appropriate shabby chic fixtures and details.  what a fun way to add some street art to your home.

this is something i've been wanting to do for a long time.  i've done public murals and work that is non-purchasable, but this is a bit of graffiti that you can own.  why not paint in a wall in the house or the side of your rotting barn in the backyard, or in this case, your outdoor bar.  its simple, and a fun way to add some color to your space.  and it only took us one evening to create.

out come the big stencils.  this one took me a couple of hours to cut.  all the letters are made from bones, shells, fish and other sea-faring things. 
line that sucker up
the bare bones logo, calling all pirates  (after we finished, barbara had the genius idea to add X's to the bottles.  thankfully i always carry paint markers with me)
filling in the palm trees
oh, and of course there is a pirate ship floating out there in the water.
the finished product, albeit in the spotlight in the dark.
it's the 'bare bones bar.'  it's one-of-a-kind.  it's fresh.  and it seems to always be 5 o'clock, with that sun dunking into the sea.  don't you just want a mai tai or a margarita?

finished work in the daylight.  thanks for the photo barbara!

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