Thursday, June 17, 2010

It takes a village to paint a mural: Sharon Kilfoy and her Willy Street work of collaborative art

It Takes a Village: Sharon Kilfoy and Her Willy Street Mural
There's a nice story by Esty Dinur in today's Isthmus about artist Sharon Kilfoy, who created the Willy Street mural titled Toward Revolution -- 1970's Vision in collaboration with numerous volunteers.

It Takes a Village: Sharon Kilfoy and Her Willy Street MuralThis was one of my more enjoyable recent photo assignments. I enjoyed meeting Sharon and learning more about the mural and its history. Of all the photos I took, the one above was my favorite, but the one on the right was my runner-up, and that's the one Isthmus used on the first page. On the next page they used one of the wide-angle photos I took earlier on an overcast day when there wouldn't be any shadows on the mural.

The article quotes Sharon on the collaborative nature of her work.
Born in 1950 in Chicago, Sharon Kilfoy is a Willy Street resident who has enlisted volunteers, children and adults alike, to create numerous murals in Madison and Dane County — in schools, public spaces and community centers. In Kilfoy's world, anyone can work on a mural, whether they draw, paint or think up ideas. The beauty of the finished product is only half of the deal. The other half is what happens to people through the process.

In school, kids make art in isolation and competition. But when it comes to working on murals, Kilfoy says: "We'll take everybody's ideas." She has developed ways of making children collaborate — one kid gets the light green and another the dark green, and they have to paint the leaves together. Adults, too, do things according to their abilities. "You plug them in, in a way that'll give them some success."
For more photos, including images of the mural in its entirety, go to this Flickr set.

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