As time goes by, projects get completed and filed. Maybe many, or maybe few people ever see these projects. Some murals and projects will be painted over, some might be destroyed by vandals. The intention here, is to organize this body of work simply for viewing and reminiscing. This 'ABOUT' section contains general writings and information specifically regarding Susan Krieg's mural and design work.
By the time Susan Krieg left New York City in 1998, her stage design art was taking on mural size proportions. It was a natural progression to move toward mural work once she moved to California, where there were much larger surfaces to be painted.
Susan Krieg’s Mural Painting in Los Angeles
Murals are more than just a visual Band-Aid to cover up an unsightly structure or make a blighted neighborhood look somewhat more pleasant – murals are about creating community. Knowing this, many larger cities, such as Los Angeles, make various grant monies, and percent of new construction monies, available to community groups and artists. It usually begins with a few people who want to make their community, their school, or a public facility look more attractive. The painstaking process of getting permission from private property owners, finding the financial resources and the artistic talent, and acquiring the city’s permission and the necessary permits makes the difference between a legal mural and graffiti. There are also differences between “political” murals and “educational” murals. Political murals are intended to make a defiant statement for the community. Educational murals serve less defiant and more beautifying and informative purposes.
Susan Krieg has been the artistic resource for more than two dozen educational murals during her six-year stay in Los Angeles. Involving community members and school children in painting the murals has helped to give pride of ownership to both those directly involved in the painting process and those that live in the neighborhood. In “Fruits of Our Dreams,” UCLA students and San Fernando High School students researched the history and people of their community of Pacoima. The results were then designed into a flowing integrated statement by the artist. In several nutrition murals, paid for by the USDA, elementary school children were asked to create drawings on what they had learned about nutrition – Susan then turned the many elements into one visual image. Teaching the children the basic techniques of color rendering and shadowing, allowed many a chance to excel in a creative way that is so often missing from public education today.
Specifically for beautification purposes, Susan Krieg managed the Hollywood Walk of Fame Doors Project (phase II), in which 40 roll-up security doors on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame were painted with celebrity images. Working between the hours of 9 pm and 4 am, when stores were closed, Susan and her team of six artists painted 40 doors in a two-month period.
Several building façade improvements, exemplified by “Boots with Attitude” and “Electric Whimsy,” were carried out by Susan in North Hollywood. “I give a lot of credit to shop keepers who spend the extra money and are daring enough to do something artistic on their place of business.”
Mural Painting and the Neighborhood
It’s an interesting process that happens in the immediate vicinity during the painting of a mural. At first nobody talks. I think the people that work and live in the neighborhood are waiting to see what you’re going to do and if they’re going to like it or not. After about a week of work when images start to take shape, people start saying good morning and asking what’s next. If the mural takes a month or more to paint, you become a part of the daily routine and people become more friendly and interested.
I have never heard one bad word while painting murals. For some unknown reason, artists are given a certain amount of respect, curiosity and tolerance. Maybe because you’re out there in the weather and the dirt, climbing up and down, sweating and working hard, maybe because you’re making a contribution to the scenery or maybe because they think you’re crazy.
People like to give gifts in gratitude. They like to give you things they’ve made. Probably because they know you’ll appreciate the handiwork of a fellow creative. On the Chandler Corridor, the old fellow who keeps a watchful eye of the goings on, has given me two of his handmade mug holders. He stops by every couple of days to report that he knows a cat that looks just like the one I painted or that people at dusk have to walk up close to the mural to see if the objects are real or painted on.
One morning I was getting hungry with nothing to eat and unwilling to pack up yet and leave, an older man parked his car, got out and brought me a big bag of washed and chilled plums from his tree. He said he thought I might be hungry and he wanted me to know how much he appreciates our hard work and that it is now an absolute pleasure to drive this street every day and see all the wonderful art.
I’ve had quite a few business owners stop and ask if they can have a mural on their building. There are mothers with children that walk by everyday. The mothers smile and the children chortle over something new that’s cropped up overnight. There’s a constant barrage of encouragements: it’s looking good, it’s coming along and good job. People freely honk and give the thumbs up sign. Teens and older kids often just give a nod of acknowledgement.
By the time the mural is done, the neighborhood has taken ownership of it. I receive many many thank-yous. It’s nice to be able to leave a mark that is appreciated.
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