“I love briefs that are slightly filled with insanity,” says bespectacled and bearded artist Mike Perry, the Crown Heights, Brooklyn-based king of colorful illustrations who’s recently been named “Artist-in-Chief” by the new Brooklyn neighborhood art initiative, Pacific Park Arts. Perry who’s known for his jam-packed prints and the opening animation he created for Comedy Central’s Broad City, will be conducting an event that will see him and nine other local artists create public murals along Pacific Park’s Dean Street on August 15.
“Our brief is that we only have one day to complete the mural,” Perry explains. “I love that because the challenge will make our brains fire a bit more.” In addition to curating the event and creating a design for it himself, Perry has drawn an intricate map of the area as well as a poster to celebrate the project.
Given the event’s short time frame, Perry selected a team of artists that could work in a loose, abstract, and pared-down style; anything too detailed would simply take too long to render on the 820-foot-long construction fence. “I did a test painting for my piece and it took me almost a full day,” Perry says. “I started to think: if I’m working at this 1:1,000 scale and it took me that long, how can I adjust my process to paint at the different scale?” The resulting piece is playful and energetic, a geometric composition suited to quick brush strokes that doesn’t require long waits for paint to dry.
Like Perry, the other nine artists live in the area and work with bold patterns and vibrant colors, like the geometric designs of Morgan Blair, the dense work of Eddie Perrote, the cartoonish hand of Thomas Colligan, and the dreamy imagery of Jennifer Maravillas, amongst others. Although the compositions are mostly abstract and contain few obvious references to life in the neighborhood, they seek to capture Brooklyn’s energy and dynamism through shape and color.
To unite the ten artists on one wall is to celebrate the artistic community surrounding Pacific Park, and to champion illustration and design’s role in shaping a neighborhood. “For myself, there’s nothing better than walking down the street and seeing somebody shooting a selfie in front of a mural I painted,” says Perry. “I’m hoping that everyone else who’s painting will have that joy in making work that’s a part of the community.”