This fall I had the opportunity to paint a mural in the heart of the 9th and 9th neighborhood in Salt Lake City. I was put in contact with the owners of the building on the southeast corner of the 9th and 9th intersection who wanted a mural to brighten up a large blank wall that faced the street and alleyway. The owners wanted something bright, bold, and colorful to convey the diversity, activity, and excitement that take place in the 9th and 9th community. They really liked an illustration I had posted to my Instagram and wanted to see an expanded version to fit the wall.
I sketched up a few design ideas using my iPad. I used the application Procreate for the entire design process. I photographed the wall and drew directly on top of the photo so it would be easy to visualize how each design would look in the space. We decided on a colorful design full of swirling rainbows, clouds, stars, and light beams. I then redrew the design, this time on a flat canvas which was scaled down proportionally to the dimensions of the wall. Once the drawing was finished, I applied a grid to the drawing that was ½” by ½” which would help me transfer the drawing to the wall. Since the drawing was made to scale, I was able to draw a corresponding grid on the wall itself using 2’ by 2’ squares. I drew this grid using chalk so it would easily wash off once the mural was finished.
The grid took a whole day to mark out on the wall but once it was done, I was ready to begin painting. I used exterior house paint for the mural and began by painting the black outlines of my design using my scaled drawing for reference. The building owner rented a scissor lift so I could reach the upper part of the 22’ wall. I used paint rollers of varying sizes for most of the project and brushes to paint in the cracks and rough spots, of which there were many. Once the outline was up it was just a matter of coloring in the lines. I worked with my boyfriend, who was assisting me, for three days straight from dawn until dusk to complete the mural. We only had access to the scissor lift for those three days so we worked quickly to complete the project.
It was so fun talking to people who were walking by while we painted and seeing that it brightened their day was so gratifying. I grew up in the 9th and 9th area and have so many memories there, so it was such an honor to paint this mural. It’s such a special neighborhood to me and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to it.