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Team Sunnyside Bridge in Akumal, Mexico

Part 2 of the Akumal Arts Festival post Yesterday we painted a house, today we paint a 20x22' section of the Akumal bridge!

The bridge is split into 4 sections, what you see in the photo above is 1/4 of the bridge that murals are being painted on. There are about 14 artists/teams painting on each section. That means there are 56 artists simultaneously painting murals! ALL ON ONE BRIDGE! One hell of an arts fest right? Well if you take a ride into the pueblo (over the bridge) you would have found another 40-50 artists painting murals all around town! OH AND I forgot the artists painting murals underneath the bridge, this is wild. The creative energy here is at an all time high and it is time we harness all of that good energy for the mural I am about to begin painting

For scale, in the photo below you'll see me with a bag over my head in front of my portion of the bridge wall. I stand about 6'3

Many artist choose to have a plan when approaching a mural of this size. Perhaps a quick sketch, or a fully rendered digital drawing. They would then create a grid on the wall, line it up with their imagery in photoshop, and then sketch their image onto the wall. Im the opposite. I have no plan, no grid, no photoshop, i dont even have a laptop with me. I very much enjoy spontaneity in creative expression. After all, the wall already has a built in grid to utilize. The base idea is to create something unique in each section of the wall. But what to paint? To start, together with my painter-in-crime Sasha we began to color in each block with the remaining house paints we had from painting the Mantis home. If you go back in my blog posts there was a collaboration mural I took part in at Polis HQ in Austin, TX earlier this year where my mural took form as various multi colored faces, sort of caricatures of people who dont exist. That idea was a lot of fun and Ive been looking for an opportunity to explore this theme some more. This feels like the perfect opportunity Once we had finished painting the base colors Sasha and I walked around to chat with every artist we could find and photograph them. With these portraits I would then use them to caricature into their own block of the wall. Creating sort of a mural quilt of artists participating in this years festival. Very often you see murals in homage to great people but, very rarely do you see a murals paying homage to those great artists who paint the murals. Lets do just that

Pictured below is the electric smile of Jose Dios, a local artist painting a couple murals down from my location. All around very nice fella who as you can see has one of the best smiles in the country. Once you get to the end of this post see if you can figure out which color block is his portrait :D

With a collection of 40 or so portraits I can get started

We asked each artist to make a silly face, something not serious, have fun with it ya know? My BDC crewmate Tarboxx coming in from Houston was among my favorites

Pictured below is the swiss army knife of the arts, another human who wears more hats then Coolio. His name is Jake and he is one of the artists responsible for putting together this entire festival!

While we are talking about festival staff lets take a moment to recognize another staff member who helped bring this festival to light. Whenever artists see the pink flamingo we go running to it! Because Tequila Jen has arrived and she is bearing snacks, water refills, cold beers, and margaritas. Jen was also included in my caricatures near the top. She is even the inspiration behind the murals title, 'Tequila Time in Akumal'

Why Tequila Jen? Why not Whiskey Jen. Or Jenny Gin & Ginger Ale... Well... >:D

Quick view of the murals in action to my left

and to my right..

Can you tell which is Jose Dios? :D ................................................. V

Its freakin hot, shade is non existent. That is, until the sun goes down and for 10 minutes all artists painting on the sunnyside of the bridge are in a euphoric state of painting bliss. We are (most of us) in a foreign land, eating fresh seafood, taking tequila shots off of trucks on the side of the road, painting with friends new and old ....And then the mosquito come out

Before being eaten alive I finished!

We all sweat our butts off

And in the end it was worth every last drop

A HUUUUGE THANK YOU TO THE AKUMAL ARTS FEST STAFF You all have created something magical and exciting in a hidden oasis and I cant speak highly enough of the valiant efforts it took from everyone involved to make this happen Thank you thank you thank you and a special thank you to all of the artists who took the time to be photographed, I had a blast painting all of your silly faces :)

Hope to see everyone next year :)

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