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.