The Walter Reid Military Hospital is a prestigious building in Washington, DC. A Privately Funded Laboratory Space called for a Social Justice Mural with equal gravitas to support Black Lives Matter. The finished piece is nine feet high and fourteen feet wide. Originally, our area came in at forty-five feet wide. The information we wanted to use also to also be forty-five feet wide. To accommodate for the smaller area change, we collaged DC architecture with illustrated characters. This layout is without regard for real-world distances. To ground the rendition in DC we dropped in a few cherry blossoms at the edge of the frame. The pink flowers and the stone surround of the MLK monument also help camouflage some utility hardware in the wall too.
The design phase of this project was interesting for all of the usual reasons. The timing, location, and content intersected to shape the outcome here in a very interesting way as well. In a broad sense, those factors shape every project. Acutely here, however, for a number of reasons. First, themes of science and research during covid. Second, themes of political influence and more directly, MLK, in the Fall and Winter of 2020. Third, the location is the United States Capital in an illustrious and previously military hospital. These factors took front and center in everyone’s minds during the development of this story. A real-time ripple effect started in the streets outside and was felt in our creative meetings. The dominant news stories of the moment literally changed how the details of the mural looked from one meeting to the next.
Our role is to facilitate our client’s vision without bias. Our politics are not relevant in their space. In this case, the corporate conscience equaled to the sum of their employees’. Hopefully, the art continues to reinforce the right notes as we move forward together.