Project: Urban Samtidskunst
Location: Halmstad Skole, Rygge, Norway
Date: May 2019

This school wall invites kids (and adults) to grow with knowledge and sensitivity. The characters represent night and day colors, both of them carrying elements from eachother. They are creating a new space by joining two opposite forces just above the door, where the real sparkles will run through.

Behind the wall:

🌨️ Urban Astronaut: The weather was cold, windy and rainy. But this time I was prepared: got the raincoat and shoe cover from my previous trip to China, my hot drink from Argentina, and the snowsuit Viktor’s mama gave me last time I was in Norway (that’s another story). I could barely move, felt like a chihuahua with 5 sweaters on…but I was warm, dry, and victorious on the inside -in your face, weather!- .

🌈 Curiosity #1: In many cold places the houses are light and pastel. It’s the kind of detail you don’t notice until you’re there. I think it’s nice to have a happy spot around, so I usually pick basic bright colors. For some, this comes as a surprise. Here, my neighbour Heidi told me she painted a playground like a rainbow and it felt like a small revolution. We talked about colors and moods.

Everything is white, even the dog

The first day at the paint store, the staff refused to prepare my colors. As crazy as that sounds, they friendly suggested “alternatives”, which were of course, desaturated. I don’t know if the misunderstanding was based on the english language or the cultural differences, because these were sections in the catalogue:
“Nordic” = desaturated colors,
“Favourite” = shades of grey,
“Accented” = basic bright colors.
How can grey be a favourite, and why they refused to prepare the accented colors in the first place, is a mystery. They argued it had little coverage, so as a solution we used very specific priming for each color. It took us about an hour to reach this agreement, thankfully they had coffee & truffles.

👷 Curiosity #2: After I finished my work, a local painting company was sent to repair a wall at the school. If you see the surface before I started painting, you can see one was irregular, and other was perfect.

There was also an aged wall with windows, that was not part of the mural.

After I finished my mural, this was the only left without paint. But surprisingly, they chose the freshly-painted perfect wall to repaint, covering up a third of my mural. I was more puzzled than mad, still can’t understand for how long is it possible to work without noticing what you’re doing.

It was so recent, it got to the news and I started getting messages about it, before I even shared the original mural. Reading the newspaper, I found this student’s testimony that made me smile:
“I’d like to hug the picture and try to squeeze it. I’m just getting close, but not too much. Because I don’t want to ruin it. It would be silly if the paint goes away”

It was on the TV, newspapers, and my inbox XD

On the bright side, it was not the main characters but the graphic part which was easier to fix. The company responsible covered the restoration, but I was already in Canada. So I trusted the task to Viktor -the curator- who is also a painter and helped me during the process. He’s great!

This is how it looks now, good as new. My signature is missing but this is the story behind it.

More about this project

🔗 Urbansamtidskunst official site
📰 Press: Nrk ✦ Moss Avis