Round Lake Wait, Center Lake Go!
In Mural Mayhem Pt. 2, my design for the Round Lake Park Mural was unveiled, but the start date for work on that mural had been pushed back significantly. Fast-forward four months to May 2019. I'm still waiting for the go-ahead to start work, but the park improvements are taking longer than anticipated. I'm not complaining because I'm not trying to paint in the summer heat of Florida, and I've just become an uncle, so I'm preparing to travel to California to meet my nephew! Something in my inbox catches my eye though - another Call to Artists from the Oviedo Public Arts Board. I click and read that they are seeking to install a retro-postcard mural at Center Lake Park. I muse to myself what a neat idea that is, but believe myself to be ineligible to submit a design, as I am already going to be painting the Black History of Oviedo Mural. A few days go by and I repeatedly see this same e-mail being forwarded to me. Finally, I reach out to the City of Oviedo to inquire as to why, and am informed that I am quite eligible to submit a design for this second project. In a caffeine-fueled creative frenzy, I quickly begin to conceptualize what stands out and channels the spirit of Oviedo and submitted my design on June 6,2019, one day before the deadline.
“I really didn't think the odds were in my favor to be selected for two murals, but I figure, you'll never know if you could have if you don't try.”
The application was submitted and I was told that a decision in regards to this mural would be made in July. Until then, I first needed to recover from my drafting all-nighter, then pack and head west to meet my new nephew.
When deciding how to approach the theme of “Oviedo’s Postcard,” I decided to draw on the iconic style of Curt Teich, whose name may be unfamiliar, but is the man behind the vintage “Greetings From…” postcards. The linen postcards Teich produced became popular in the mid-20th century, and became a means by which cities could advertise their attractions and entice tourists to visit.
Today, Oviedo stands at a unique crossroads. As a rural suburb of Orlando that has seen a spike of urbanization in recent years, I wanted to honor the city’s agrarian roots and present state simultaneously. The inclusion of the Town House was thus, a great jumping off point. The Town House is an established Oviedo institution, but after construction in historic downtown Oviedo necessitated its move to a new location, it came back serving up the same old favorites, in a larger, more modern locale. I believe this blend of modernity with rustic sensibilities is what has made Oviedo a family community, with endless opportunity. I included several historic markers
that mark different eras of Oviedo (i.e. Lawton House, the First Methodist Steeple, Nelson and Co. Water Tower, Oranges and Celery), as well as the infamous Oviedo chickens, Black Hammock gators, sandhill cranes noisily flying overhead, and the classic hometown rivalry between Hagerty and Oviedo. The latter four are living, breathing phenomena that continue to grow, and I believe recognizing that Oviedo itself is continually growing is essential in a postcard mural that seeks to encapsulate the essence of our town.
Altogether, I just wanted to create a piece that will be fun for families to engage with, evoke a sense of nostalgia, and reignite a drive to explore Oviedo if some of the included icons are unknown.
In late July, I was informed that my design for the postcard mural had been selected - now I would be responsible for bringing to life the first two projects for the Oviedo Public Arts Board!! The improvements were still ongoing at Round Lake Park, so the Center Lake Mural would actually be the first to be completed. Before materials could be ordered though, I had to revise one aspect of the design. Although The Townhouse truly is "An Oviedo Tradition," city mandates wouldn't allow it to be part of the mural so I swapped in the Swan Boats at Center Lake to modernize the mural with one of the most recent recreational additions to the city. I met with the Parks and Recreation Department and over the next few months, began planning out the materials and equipment that would be needed. Finally, on October 29, 2019, I got the go-ahead to officially begin work on my first mural ever!
I arrived on site, armed with paint, drop cloths. rollers, keys to a scissor lift, and a "ready or not, here I go," attitude. The highlights of the first day were learning that this wall opposite the Cantina is the place to tan right at 3:30 PM and that the movement of scissor lifts is akin to a rodeo bull. Nevertheless, I was excited to finally be working on a mural, but little did I know the adventures that this particular one would take me on.