Love Art Sushi

Date Completed: October 2016

Love Art Sushi is a restaurant with locations in Storrs, CT and Boston serving healthy build-your-own sushi bowls, salads, tea, and other small bites. Under the same management (Ron & Jess), they rebranded themselves from their previously run H.A. Cafe, with an entirely new menu and look. As part of their renovations, they painted an entire wall with chalkboard paint as a canvas for the ‘Art’ in their namesake. I had the wonderful opportunity to fill that wall as their first featured artist.

These are some sketches that I originally had in mind for the wall. They’re done in my own lettering style and I incorporated a fish, which was an element that Jess wanted. After consulting with them though, they wanted me to stick to their own font, Bentham, so that their branding would be consistent.

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Sticker design with the Bentham font done by my friend Will
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Their official letterhead

Jess and Ron also wanted an element of interaction between customers and the artwork. Kelsey Montague has a beautiful campaign titled #WhatLiftsYou that spread through social media. Her work invites people to insert themselves in the artwork to take photos.

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Mural on Kenmare St. in SoHo, NYC (2015)

So I had to find a way to incorporate that within the Love Art Sushi theme. The wall was big though, so there was plenty of room to be creative. I ended up using the fins of beta fish as inspiration for the “wings”.

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The entire piece took a total of about 20 hours to complete. I started at the beginning of the week and I went in around 9/10 each night and would stay for a couple of hours. On the last night that I had to work on it, I stayed until 5 in the morning (not good for my health, but I happen to work well under pressure).

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Most of it came about as I went along with it. The only things that I had set on paper were the placement of the fish, and their logo set in the center. The circular orb was an addition on the spot, as my way of delineating space for the type. The fins that formed itself into the wing-like structure came about within the last couple hours of me working on the piece. I was panicking at that point, because I didn’t have a clear idea of how I was going to complete it.

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And this is the final design! It was lightly sprayed with a fixative to set the chalk in place, so it wouldn’t smudge too much if people happened to rub against the wall when taking photos. But Ron and Jess hope to have new artwork done in the future.

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This was by far the largest piece of work I’ve ever done and I hope I have more opportunities to work with chalk in the future. It also makes me really happy to see people taking photos with the work! The amazing team at Love Art Sushi also graciously fed me with their delicious food while I worked with them. Definitely go grab some if you ever get the chance to visit!

 

Creative Ideas: Served Daily

Date Completed: March 2016

This chalkboard wall was painted for a previous student who drew simple, but beautiful line drawings almost every week. After the student graduated, one of her drawings remained but the wall had been untouched for over a year. One of my good friends pushed me to take the opportunity to create something on a large scale – this was definitely the largest work that I completed at the time, and my first work in a public space! After meeting with the department head and getting the okay, I was good to go.

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I started working around 10PM on a Sunday night, hoping to be in an empty building. Of course, dedicated art students are always there at weird hours. I also didn’t want to be caught by anyone erasing the previous artwork, since it had been there for so long and everyone had loved it (I didn’t want to be known as that girl that took it away). I ended up staying past 3 in the morning to finish it.

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My friend and I really admire Lauren Hom’s work, who’s art style was my inspiration for this piece. She’s done a number of beautiful chalk pieces that communicate ideas really well. I also love the transient nature of chalk – it can be erased, can always be reworked, and not to mention, cheap!

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Me (5’1″) for scale

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This photo was sent to me by the Department Head, showing the finished project in view while a painting class is in session. It gave the area a renewed vibrancy and a motivational message about the talented students we have at the School of Fine Arts. Now, the chalkboard wall is used for other student projects, continually being used to express new ideas.