One Giant Leap: Mural for Column Five

Each of our conferences in the Column Five office are named for eight planets in the solar system (I still believe in you, Pluto). We recently added two more official rooms, one of which being Mission Control. This is to become a casual meeting space comprised of a single couch with two lounge chairs and like the other conference rooms, a full whiteboard wall to track ideas. Unlike the planet conference rooms, the colors on the wall were still white. Since this was to be a special non-reserved room, there was a request to paint a mural in this room. 

I was very excited and I showed a lot of interest when I heard my friend Brigitte was planning to lead the project. We decided to take on facing walls in the room, where I would take on an organic lettering piece, and she’d take on the control panel.

The room was intended for people to hang out and talk concepts while drinking their beverage of choice. This room is home to a mini fridge, always stocked full of chilled LaCroix’s, my secret source when we inevitably run out in the main fridge. 

Our initial discussions meetings comprised of Tamara, our HR director and Leanne, our office manager about their goals for the room. Josh, one of our founders, expressed wanting to have a connection to Column Five’s old office’s space-themed room and its 70s-themed room, which is a favorite for our C5 oldies still in the office. We had two older conference rooms, Space and Retro themed, so Mission Control would somehow be a combination of those two rooms. 

Members of our office brainstormed some phrases we could use on this wall, and while Ad Astra wasn’t chosen, I wanted to use the Latin definition, "Through hardships to the stars”, into my lettering piece.

Over the course of a next few months, between projects, I was able to start sketching out concepts and creating illustrations.

Some problems we faced: 

Space for projector

Because of the level of detail, I assumed I could simply project my image onto the wall and trace the whole image in pencil. It turned out the actual projection size in the room is more limited. The only way to successfully project the image at full size was to split it into 3 rows of two column slices. Luckily, our office had some bookshelves and a series of books and magazines to stack which worked out perfectly and we didn’t need to buy a second ladder.

Time

We struggled with finding good times to meet and connect. There was a lack of urgency to complete because we had other important projects for our partners taking priority. Working on the illustration was something I found much joy in, and it gave me a great first project to learn how to use my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil efficiently in Adobe Sketch. I created a lot of different rounds of the illustration, which made me thankful we didn’t have a strict due date. It was my opportunity to really play, however a project lasting from May to January isn’t a sustainable process and shows me the importance of focus in completing projects like these.

Painting

The progression of colors started with lightest to darkest, Yellow, Orange and Blue. I didn’t realize how all the curves and level of details would take, and we also didn’t anticipate the paint to be as translucent as it was. This required us to go over things with a second, and sometimes third coat to make a solid color. Because of little slip ups, I went back around with white to clean up the edges and to define the details.

Working largely in the digital format for Column Five has fed my hunger to produce more tactile work like this mural. I am so satisfied to see it living in the office space. 

If you’d like to learn more about me and my projects, follow me on Instagram and Twitter @jnnyfamularcano