Yesterday as I helped my friend King B paint a mural on an barber shop’s wall, I walked around taking several pictures.
Some of them came out perfectly straight, well cropped, following the rule of thirds.
Others were crooked or simply blurry.
And as the day went on, I couldn’t help thinking about the idea of artists- specifically in this case, painters- working outside of a canvas.
Taking the confined space of what the traditional art-form of painting entails and expanding it: making the world your canvas.
Speaking to King B afterwards, he agreed that working outside of a traditional picture frame or canvas is one of the things he manipulates the most in his artwork.
I watched King B and his friend Rudy paint and occasionally took direction from them to add some primer here, color in a shape or two there. And slowly the painter’s process unfolded right before me.
They would create their basic doodles in white, giving a basic understanding of where faces, shapes, and colors might go.
I understood that to be the writer’s outline or basic premise for a piece: an initial idea for what you decide to eventually write in later.
Then slowly they added their first layers of paint to the bodies and heads, making sure to go over the parts that needed the most paint first.
This is something I do as a writer all the time.
Take the initial idea and begin writing the main conflicts, possibly even finishing it all in one sitting.
Lastly, I witnessed the two muralists mix more colors to add shading, detail, depth and finally outline their characters.
In the same way, my final step to a short story is always to add more details (adverbs and imagery) to scenes, fill in missing plot points (depth), and conclude my piece so that all ideas, images, characters, and moments are completely interlocking.
Not only did I enjoy seeing this transformation happen, but the joy in discovering our two different art forms were the exact same was enlightening. Best of all, it gave me inspiration of my own to create my own artwork that day. You can find the text format of this poem underneath the Poems page, until then enjoy this more visually enticing version. Enjoy!