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All the background pieces were ready and all the birds had been cut out. Now it was time to place all the birds and start the inlay process. I had to remove each background piece and cut it to accomodate the bird cutouts.
Installation was handled by some professional art installers who did the work but let me guide each step of the process. It fit together better than I had hoped. The hours spent leveling the structure in the studio and devising an attachment system paid off.
I hope this look into the process has been interesting. The grand opening was April 14th and the terminal is in full swing. If you are ever flying to San Francisco and want to see the mural, book your flight on Virgin America or American Airlines since they are the only airlines in Terminal 2.
The mural is dedicated to my late father and today is his birthday. It is a tough day but I’m trying to focus on all the good memories. Thanks for tuning in to Bird Light Wind. Having the chance to share my images and experiences with you is one of my favorite things.
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Work continued on the mural… hearing protection and a dust mask were important given the hours and hours I spent with a jig saw in my hand.
Above, a video of me testing the benches. I found out that adding the resonators, the recesses for which took me two days to build, made the instruments deafening so I had to leave them out.
Another section of the background inlay coming together. It was nerve wracking cutting out the negatives because you just couldn’t mistakes on a pieces which already had hours of work invested in them.
I started by gathering images and working with Magnolia Editions in West Oakland to print them onto plywood using their incredible flatbed printer. It can handle 4′x 8′ sheets and cures the ink with UV lights instantly.
I also ordered and had the lumber delivered to a studio in Hayward that I rented specifically for the project. I had to build a structure to fit the mural into a recess and to accomodate the resonators I imagined would be necessary for the xylophone wings.
Last year I was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission to create a mural for the new terminal at San Francisco International Airport. This is the result. The images are birds I photographed in the Bay Area and they are printed onto wood, cut out by hand, and inlaid into the background, which is also all hand cut.
So the next few posts will give some insight into the process of making a musical bird mural by hand. It was exhausting and sometimes frightening, stressful, but also rewarding, and eventually very satisfying. I learned a great deal.