Michael Mize Art Blog
This week and next I'm working on a mural project with a rather unexpected media: Post-It Notes. The worship arts pastor at my church (Topeka Bible Church) challenged me with this task after seeing Iowa artist Shay Hovell's Post-It Note Mona Lisa.
Last Sunday Post-It Notes were included in all of the bulletins passed out at the three worship services, and the congregation was asked to write the names of three people in their life that needed prayer, especially if they were nonbelievers. To add a nice element of intrigue, everyone was not told what we had planned to do with all the notes, just that we had something special in mind. All the notes were collected, counted, and photo copied. And then the 546 notes were given to me in order to start the mural, which in essence, is becoming a sort of prayer wall. Intially we had planned on unveiling the mural this Sunday, however, we've decided to collect notes for another week to allow more people a chance to participate and be involved.
I'm really excited about the potential impact of this work as it becomes essentially a large aesthetic object to focus and direct the attention of the congregation as we make the communal effort to pray for all the people listed on the notes. In fact, as I worked on the piece, I tried to remember to take the time a say a quick prayer for each of the names as I placed them on the masonite board. while I certainly didn't get to everyone, as my right brain kept getting distracted in my efforts, it certainly made the process much more personal.
In terms of producing the work, it's been an interesting challenge right from the beginning. While I did get to select the colors of the notes to be distributed, there was no way of knowing how many of each color would be returned. True to formt though, God made sure I had exactly the right number of notes to get the mural half finished, which is what you see above.
I've taken a few cues from Chuck Close and Henri Matisse during production as well. Henri Matisse's cut paper compositions were a great source of inspiration as I cut up clean notes and scattered them about to try and create some texture and directional force in the foreground. And Chuck Close's use of optical blending in his paintings also danced around in my head as I tried to break up the large square "pixels" of the individual notes. The wise men on the camels are acutally negative space cut out of the notes, thus revealing the masonite beneath. It's also worth noting that the checkerboard patten in the sky is the preliminary stages of a gradient to evenly blend the light and dark blues in the sky.
After gathering more notes this Sunday, I hope to extend the landscape and add a small stable beneath the star of Bethlehem that led the three kings to the newly born Savior. In much the same way, it's my sincere hope that this artwork might, in some small way, lead others to faith in Jesus.
Click here for an update on the completed Post-It Note Mural