Julia O’Halloran Faraci
Projection artist Marc Pettersen initiated the Illuminated Windows project to, as the Middletown Press’s feature article said, “illuminate Middletown’s downtown.”
A Call for Artists was released through the Illuminated Windows website on April 13. Powered by Weebly, the site also features mockups and sketches, artist bios, and FAQs giving detailed instructions to potential artists.
The video below, Illuminated Windows Sculpt Day 1, was published on MAC650’s YouTube just afterwards, on April 15.
In a partnership with two restaurants on Main Street, the Vietnamese restaurant Lan Chi’s, and, across the street, the Mexican restaurant Iguanas Ranas , the Illuminated Windows project will feature a large figure in each restaurant window that symbolizes each cuisine, making them focal features on Main Street and attracting visitors to the North End.
A giant dragon, five feet long, will pulse with color in Lan Chi’s window. Flashing its bright scales, the dragon will – breathe fire! Across the street, a four-foot figure of a frog will squat in Iguanas Rana’s window. Strumming a little guitar, it too will be animated by projected lights.
For the window of Lan Chi, paper artist Ben Parker has created a paper dragon. Practicing an art called “geometric origami”, he created the five-foot body from an uncut piece of paper, with the head, flame and legs from additional paper.
Visual artist Jeanette Andriulli, who is featured in the Sculpt Day 1 video above, is creating a guitar-strumming rana for Iguanas Ranas. Andriulli’s background is as a production designer and artistic director on films, with a particular interest in horror.
Pettersen is casting small models of the figures from Quik-Dry cement. The miniature frogs and dragons will be sold to the public. Artists are invited to paint the creatures, which will be displayed at the exhibit opening on May 6th at a reception at MAC650.
Two pieces will be chosen to be projected onto the sculptures in the restaurant windows – the giant guitar-strumming frog in Iguana Rana’s window, the imposing origami dragon in Lan Chi’s. Pettersen will use Adobe Afteraffects to create a looped video to animate the images of the selected figures onto the sculptures.
Experimentation with projection mapping by Marc Pettersen, posted to Facebook page Illuminated Windows Reception and Call to Artists!
Pettersen has been working with projection for some time. In 2013, he collaborated on “Projected World Experience” exhibit, which surrounded visitors with video and sound in a Middletown alley at the “Middletown Remix” arts festival.
As Vice-President of MAC650, he is active in facilitating and leading events there, including open studios and figure drawing workshops.
Pettersen has primarily used social media for networking and connecting with other artists. When he was new to Connecticut, he used MeetUp frequently to promote events and find people who were interested in workshops. Through MeetUp groups, he found organizations like Hygienic Arts; through Google Apps, he found MakeHaven and the Grove in New Haven.
Ben Parker, the artist who created the dragon, uses a variety of social media to curate, exhibit and demonstrate his work. His website BRDParker.com includes a gallery of his origami, a detailed discussion of his philosphy, and links to the publisher of his book, Six Simple Twists. He discovered Flicker (brdparker) in 2007, and uses it to display his work from wedding invitations, to Trashion Fashion show, to recreations of building (Chicago’s Hancock Building, among others). He recently started to use Instagram (brdparker), and his artist Facebook page is BRDParker.
As Jeanette Andriulli, the creator of the frog, is also a blogger and writer, she has an active social media presence. She has several websites including her website for her production work at https://jeanette.allyou.net/2250893/film and a blog @rtful Pursuit; she also blogs for MAC650, the artist living space in Middletown, which is the home base for the Illuminated Windows project.
MAC650 and the artists who live and work there are a great part of what keeps the North End vital. Art lovers are attracted to the bright airy space for exhibits and readings and events. The Illuminated Windows reception on May 6th, with the exhibit of painted dragons and frogs accompanied by other works by the participating artists, will be a highlight of Spring arts in Middletown.
The North End thrums with life. Scents of pho and enchiladas and cupcakes waft from restaurants. Scenes of families and friends in bright spring clothing will color the warm evenings. Sounds of laughter and conversation and music will float from the Buttonwood and Eli Cannon’s and local bars.
And amid dancing lights, a dragon will breathe fire, and a frog will strum a guitar.