Tag Archive: Time Lapse Video


The City Hall Courtyard Mural

This summer I teamed up with Citywide partner Kien Nguyen once again to create a 3200 sq ft Mural that is being installed in City Hall’s courtyard.

The mural was funded mostly by Kelly/Maiello Architects, the firm that has been in charge of the city hall restoration for the past 13 years. For the next year or so, they will be restoring the south facade of the courtyard, and many partition walls have been built to house their equipment. The walls reach 8 feet high and all together measure 400 feet wide.

Kien and I took tours of the City Hall building to brainstorm for ideas. I HIGHLY recommend seeing the mural and then taking a tour of the building. The 1 1/2 hour tour is given daily at 12:30pm sharp, the office is found to the right of our green “East Wall”. The tour office’s number is 215-686-2840. The tour highlights the symbolism and meaning behind the building’s layout as well as the 160 reliefs and sculptures found throughout. We felt that our design should focus on these same things.


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Our design puts a contemporary spin on the many relief and free standing sculptures scattered throughout the architecture of City Hall. We reinterpret their poses though Philadelphia’s diverse residents. We consider the complex symbolism and meanings of the sculptures and the significance of the four directions they face.



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The compass on the floor of City Hall’s courtyard plots out Center City’s major squares. Our design brings these squares to life as realistic panoramas in colors reminiscent of the four seasons.

The patterns specific to each season are taken from motifs found throughout City Hall’s decorative interior.


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Pillars and archways occupy the corners of each major wall using Calder’s sculptures of people spanning the four corners of the globe.


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Imagery from Philadelphia’s major public parks can be found within the archways. For example the west wall depicts Clark Park, and the East Wall has images of Penn Treaty Park, which the statue of William Penn is pointing to.

This design brings into focus the sculpture, imagery, and patterns found throughout Philadelphia’s City Hall Building which can otherwise go overlooked.

Once the design was agreed upon, we had to move quickly in order to get everything started. The entire month of June was spent drawing the East and West Walls of the project. Those walls broke down into 40 8’x5′ panels that would be projected and drawn in great detail.

We began the West Wall in the studio during July, the East wall drawings were sent to a summer Mural class held at Audenreid High School. The class of 50 youth spent their summer blocking the backgrounds of the east wall and under painting of all its figures.




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Once July started we gained 3 interns and two volunteers. Two of our interns, Latasha and Matt were former Mural Corps students, they were the standouts in their respective classes. Matt was a former student of Kien. Julia was our other intern, who has spent most of her life making art all over the world most recently Mexico and Burkina Faso. Julia painted 4 of the 6 mini landscapes within the archways and several of the mural’s figures.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays we were assisted by The Mayor’s daughter Olivia and her good friend Jenny. They braved the heat of the studio for an entire month and helped block in portions of the west wall.




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By mid August we were finishing up the East wall. On the 23rd we installed all 40 panels. We blocked out 2 days for the install and found money in the Audenreid Budget to hire 5 of their best students. The 5 would help us install the panels and assist in the studio painting the north wall for the rest of the summer. I like to refer them as the 3rd wave of assistants.









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Currently we are busy working on the South Wall in Studio, it consists of 25 panels Many of which have been worked on by the men in my Graterford Prison Class. I’m excited to get those panels back so I can post photos. The figures and backgrounds look incredible.

We are looking to install the final 2 walls on September 15th and 16th in the City Hall Courtyard. If you are around please stop by and say hi.

Once the project is up it will have about a year to a year and a half on the site before construction is completed. We are hoping that some of the panels could be auctioned off for fundraising purposes. The fundraising could benefit Mural Arts and future restoration projects in city hall.

oh and one last thing…. here is a video I made for the Audenried students showing them how we work with the underpainted figures.

Citywide Installation: The Gallery at Market East

The Citywide Mural was taken down on October 11th from 30th Street, and a few weeks later was reinstalled in a new location at the Gallery just inside the 9th and Market St entrance.

As it turns out, the mural found a home on a wall that was big enough to accommodate all the sections in their proper order. Our thinking for months was that the mural would be divided into seven sections and distributed throughout the gallery, in fact the design itself was created around the fact that it would eventually be in seven equal parts. We’re all thrilled that we can get one final look at the entire mural. Its going to be up for a long time as well. Last I heard it may still be there through the holidays and into January! Between The Gallery and 30th St, the mural has found an incomprehensibly vast audience.

There is going to be another event as well. On Wednesday December 9th at 11am there will be an event held on site at the Gallery to rededicate the mural and announce the list of permanent host sites for many of the mural’s sections. With any luck the event will help find a permanent home for any final panels that remain.

Big thanks go out to Kathryn Ott Lovell, Deborah Zuchman, and Cheryl Durgans of the MAP Staff for finding the time to take on the unenviable task of managing the remainder of this project, and finding it various homes throughout the city.

Oh yeah, and before I forget, here is a link to a WHYY interview with Peter Crimmins that aired the day of the Dedication at 30th St.

WHYY Peter Crimmins Interview


Click Photos to view Slideshow



30th St Dedication Photos

The Citywide Mural was officially dedicated at 30th St Station on September 25th. The event was well attended, despite the early 2pm start time. The crowd was filled with familiar faces of the people who volunteered their time during the workshops and paint days.

I wish I could remember the names of all the people who got up to speak during the ceremony, and the specific name of the choir that performed, but almost two months have passed between the dedication and right now. I’m lucky I found some time to post.

What I can remember is that the event was overwhelming, but in a good way. We got a lot of positive vibes from the crowd, and a lot of praise for the job that we did. The music from the choir filled the entire building, everything seemed larger than life. The staff at Mural Arts really outdid themselves putting this event on, I can honestly say it was the best dedication I’ve ever had.

That night Michelle, Kien, Myself and a few friends went to Yakitori Boy, rented a karaoke room and celebrated. I’m going to miss working with those guys, we worked together well as a team. Hopefully this wont be the last time we collaborate.

Click any thumbnail to view slideshow
all photographs by Mike Reali






30th Street Installation!

The Citywide Mural is up and can be seen up close in the North Waiting Room of 30th St Station.

Kien and I set everything up for the Stagehands Union to hang, all in all the process took 3-4 hours. Peter Crimmins of WHYY was on hand to interview us for a segment that will air Friday morning. Ill post the audio when I get it.

Dedication Friday at 2pm!

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Citywide Mural Completion and Dedication

Mural Dedication: This We Believe City-wide Mural Project

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 · 2:00 – 3:00 PM
30TH STREET STATION
NORTH WAITING ROOM

Celebrate the Mural Arts Program’s first Philadelphia-wide mural project, a cornerstone initiative of the 25th Anniversary Celebration! This We Believe was created by artists Eric Okdeh, Michelle Ortiz and Kien Nguyen through eight months of community forums, a public vote, and community paint days to create a collective work that expresses the beliefs of the city.

This project was made possible by the support of: The Sunoco Founation, WHYY, LEADERSHIP Philadelphia, Penn Project for Civic Engagement, Philadelphia Daily News, 6abc, Philly.com, IATSE, Amtrak at 30th Street Station, PREIT and the Gallery at Market East.

Call 215.888.9166 or e-mail events@muralarts.org for more information.

The Citywide Mural titled Living in the Presence of History was completed in studio earlier this week, following an intense 6 weeks of painting and tying together all of the work from the 7 paint workshops and the men from my SCI Graterford Mural class. We’ve had well over 300 volunteers take part in the murals painting and it was up to my teammates Kien, Michelle and I to bring the work together and make it seamless.

We took a photo of our progress every 15 minutes and I created this video out of the shots.


The final remaining paint days open to the public took place over 3 days

North Philadelphia
Saturday, July 11 · 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
The ARC/PDDC, 2350 West Westmoreland Street

South Philadelphia
Saturday, July 18 · 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Columbus Square, 12th and Wharton

Southwest Philadelphia
Saturday, July 25 · 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Myers Recreation Center, 5800 Chester Avenue

The following thumbnails were from those dates. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and spent an afternoon with us painting this massive mural.

Click any Thumbnail to begin the slideshow

Our Citywide Mural Paintdays and Progress

We are officially halfway through our paintdays for the Citywide Mural!
Things have been extremely busy throughout the past month and a half (thats why I havent been able to update much), for now I’ll focus on Citywide….

The Paint days kicked off with Wall Ball 2009. We brought a single 5’x15′ panel for people to paint during the cocktail hour. We even got to meet Jane Seymour at the event, but she didn’t get to paint anything

I was cut out of the photo, most likely because I had a beer in my hand… and I was sweating profusely (not because of nervousness, but because the lights we were under were like heatlamps)

Since then we’ve had 4 total paint days that saw a total of over 300 volunteers working on the first two sections of the mural; dubbed the “industry” and “History” sections.
During our last paint day on July 1st, hundreds of volunteers came out to participate, thankfully we had more than enough work to go around. The Mayor even stopped by to paint.

Peter Crimmons of WHYY and a Cameraman from Univision were on hand to record and interview my teammates and myself along with the volunteers. I will post links when they become available.

We’ve been covered again in the Inquirer, that story can be found here.

…Finally here are some photos of the paint days, and below the thumbnails some video of the sheer madness of the Sunoco Welcome America turnout…

Click any Thumbnail to begin the slideshow














also… here is the info for the remaining paint days… come out and be a part of it!!

“This We Believe” Paint Days

North Philadelphia
Saturday, July 11 · 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
The ARC/PDDC, 2350 West Westmoreland Street

South Philadelphia
Saturday, July 18 · 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Columbus Square, 12th and Wharton

Southwest Philadelphia
Saturday, July 25 · 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Myers Recreation Center, 5800 Chester Avenue

FINISHED!!!! (for now)

As of January 3rd I wrapped up the Mural. The final title is From Behind the Mask. It was a tough December but we all got through it, and just in time as the next two weeks saw temperatures plummet. Its insane to think that virtually none of this existed at the beginning of December. The faux brick finish and arches were in place. Thats it! We didnt even install the mosaic until the 5th or 6th.

Everything on the wall is finished except for the mask. We were able to complete the sculpture indoors, but the weather just wasnt on our side for an installation. I photoshopped the final mask photo on to the wall to give an idea of what it will look like after a spring installation. The mask will stand a foot and a half from the wall.



The Stained Glass arches at sundown. The mural looks great in the sunset’s red-orange hue.


This video captures the installation from beginning to end.

“From Behind the Mask” Mural Installation

Many thanks to my team of assistants (Katharine Clark-Gray, Charlie Patterson, Mike Reali, Khalil Brown, Koran Morris, and Terell Mclamb) who worked through the weather and helped finish a very ambitious project within such a small amount of time.

My Progress so far…

Its cold out there…

I need one more good day over 50 degrees to install the rest of the mural. Everything else is just painting directly on the wall and touch-ups.

We had our final community workshop on the 14th where we painted and decorated with glass a 7 foot in diameter mask that will stand out a foot and a half in relief from the wall. Pics to follow

Heres a “Time Lapse” video of the mural’s progress

“From Behind the Mask” Mural Installation

Elwyn Video update

Updated video of the Behavioral Health Mural’s progress on the main page’s video section. 


Check it!

New Time Lapse Video

The newest “Time Lapse” video is up! Its the very first update for my Behavioral Health Project at the Elwyn Institute. Check it out on the video section of the main page.

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