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The Opposite of Domesticated

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Undomesticated, a House Opposite mural completed for O+ Festival 2022 at 17 St. James St. in Kingston, NY

October 2022 will forever be remembered as a wild whirlwind of a month for us and our families. The whole experience of designing and painting Undomesticated, our recently completed mural at People’s Place, coincidentally required us to spend many, many hours away from our homes, resulting in them becoming quite…undomesticated.

Over the past year as we've reconnected in Kingston and started collaborating as The House Opposite, we were motivated to submit a proposal to participate in the local O+ Festival whose mission is “to empower communities to take control of their collective wellbeing through the exchange of art, music, and wellness.” The 12th annual festival was themed, “Somewhere”, which asked the arts community to imagine a place of refuge, a place free of the confines of antiquated structures or boundaries.

We were honored to be selected and especially excited about the chosen venue for our work on the wall of People’s Place - a food pantry, wellness center, community thrift store and cafe serving Ulster County.

Ideas and references for the design came primarily from our combined interests in the spiritual power of nature, in particular the uncultivated flora and wildlife indigenous to the places we’ve lived and traveled. We also drew inspiration from our memories, dreams, and hopes for our own homes to serve as comforting, liberating spaces. This was ultimately expressed through a cross-section of a long house inhabited by an intergenerational and intercultural community occupying rooms filled with evocative pattern design, fantastical imagery, and personal symbolism. A house that is inspired and inspiring from the inside-out.

As stated in the O+ artist preview page of their website, “Their work on the nearly 80-foot-long wall at People’s Place reflects those ideals, incorporating themes of home, bounty, and above all, care for the community. The purposefully warm work also reflects an ideal of People’s Place — that no adult, but especially no child, should feel privation, and that only as a whole can Kingston, Ulster County, and the nation provide for all of our needs.”

The making of this mural would not have been possible without the support of our incredible families, our friends, and festival volunteers! In just under a month we finished a seemingly impossible task at this stage in our lives - (did I mention Allie Fair was painting while 8 months pregnant, or that baby Gabriel would be brought on-site for feedings?)

Here are some images of the completed work and those who helped along the way. Should you happen to be in Kingston, you can find the mural at 17 St. James St.

Undomesticated, 2022 Golden acrylic paint on 15'X78' brick wall, Kingston, NY

Painting a mural at 8 months pregnant is no easy task! Passers-by were in awe!

Members from the D.R.A.W. Department of Regional Art Workers, a local arts education organization, offered volunteer hours. These incredible, happy, hard-working young artists were a pleasure to paint with!

Thank you to Marianne Schwab/Aguilar! She spent many hours perfecting the coneflowers that adorn the left hand side of the wall!

Thank you to local artist, Greg Hedderman! Greg sat with Ana in art classes from grade school through High School. So happy to learn he is now living and painting in the Hudson Valley! He joined us and High School student volunteer Johanna Ruiz for many hours. It has been so great to reconnect with Greg and work with Johanna.

Family support! Siblings, spouses, parents and in-laws lending a hand! A very special thank you to those who cared for our kiddos while we worked!

A couple of sentimental moments honoring Ana's Abuelita and Allie Fair's Paw-Paw

View of the wall on September 27, 2022. Thank you to Lindsey Wolkowicz, O+ Festival Art Director who gave time and support from beginning to end, including prepping and priming the wall and adding some finishing touches.

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