Vibrant graphics in amethyst purple, pink, lime green, sky blue, carnelian orange, and reflective iridescent rainbow beam with radiance as they decoratively create atmospheric vibrations of positivity on neglected buildings, renewing and invigorating the energetic atmosphere of the urban environment. Brightly colored vinyl stickers candy coat the facades of these abandoned storefronts, dramatically changing their appearance drawing attention that can lead to transformational community change.
Signature motifs of dripping hearts, blooming flowers, growing leaves, energy waves, and faceted jewels in this mural can also be found on the same street at the historic Akron Civic Theatre Kiosk and the Art Deco style Whitehall Building. Gemstone window vinyl graphics adorn the surfaces of these spaces as they uniquely sparkle, attracting the attention of passersby thus giving the space a renewed life while offering a different perspective.
The symbolic imagery highlighted in the mural are inspired by the artist’s never ending love for pattern making, Japanese decorative arts and textiles, and the attributes of crystals, both raw and refined. The graphic motifs of the storefronts were created by scanning the artist’s sketch book drawings and her handmade paper-cuts, digitizing them in a vector computer program, then scaling up their size and laying them out to be cut from rolls of sign maker’s window vinyl. The storefront windows are created on-site from the imagination of the artist and consist of hundreds and hundreds of stickers. The designs are peeled from many sheets of the vinyl material and applied individually via transfer method to the window surfaces, building up the mural one sticker at a time.
In this storefront titled Energy Flows from Serpents Lips, Drips, and Butterfly Wings, hearts and gems tumble from the mouths of snakes slithering amid raw crystals, leafed flowers, and flourishing energy waves as rainbow sparkling butterflies drip reflective light. The serpent motifs represent fertility, continual renewal of life, and the concept of creativity as a life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they have come to symbolize rebirth, transformation, and healing. Butterflies represent powerful transformation, metamorphosis in life, renewal, rebirth, lightness of being, and playfulness- much like the storefronts have.
In ancient lore, it is known that gemstones are created by sunlight trapped in the earth crystallized by extreme heat and pressure; very much akin to the way stars in space are formed. When these rocks of compressed sunlight are found, polished, and faceted into jewels they emit prismatic light becoming desirable precious stones used for personal adornment. Ancient painters crushed gemstones into powders and mixed with oils to make paints for their luminous masterpieces. Here they are visually and conceptually used in a similar way; painting with stickers building up symbolic imagery and their meanings are:
Amethyst purple/violet: representing the crown of the head, Amethyst is a stone of transformation, healing and cleansing. It vibrates at a high frequency, creating a bubble of spiritual protection against negative energy. An Amethyst crystal is a natural stress reliever that encourages inner strength and peace. Amethyst crystals are said to bring wealth and invoke a strong business. They are healing stones of spiritual growth and protection.
Peridot green: Peridot green, the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy is associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, and environment. Green is the color of nature, fertility, balance, and life. Grass green is the most restful color and symbolizes well-being. It also means learning, growth and harmony.
Carnelian orange: Known as a stone of motivation and endurance, leadership and courage Carnelians are a glass orange colored translucent mineral of the Quartz family translucent stone. They have protected and inspired throughout history.
Pink Rose quartz: Rose Quartz is the stone of universal love. It restores trust and harmony in relationships, encouraging unconditional love. Rose Quartz purifies and opens the heart at all levels to promote love, friendship, deep inner healing and feelings of peace. It will bestow a peaceful and calming sensation that can assist in healing of the heart, by dissolving anger and resentment. Love of your country and your fellow human beings is also included within this stones influence.
Pale sky blue: It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect.
Rainbow Iridescent: Rainbows usually occur after a storm or rain shower, and they are the result of refracted sunlight hitting raindrops. This produces the optical appearance that is a rainbow. While the sun often shines after a rain shower, conditions are not always perfect to produce the appearance of a rainbow. For this reason, rainbows are considered special across many cultures.
The symbols of transformation and renewal that decorate the neglected storefronts have renewed them, providing the way for future growth and prosperity. Art transforms and influences buildings, communities, people and places. Each is a gem ready to sparkle with the right light.
Candy Coated, nee Candy Depew, is a multi-media and multi-dimensional Sculptor/Master Printer now based in Northern California, USA. A devout promoter of decorative culture and its continued daily practice, Candy co-founded an international Studio Artist-in-Residency Program based in Napa Valley with her own off-shoot satellite mirrored tiny house project called Wherever You Go, You Are (2017) in collaboration with the National Parks Service and the coast of California.
Known for her vibrant and colorful work resplendent of symbolic forms found in art/life/history/nature that Candy has fancifully abstracted, decorated, repeated in dizzying number/pattern/color combinations then merged into her vibrant collage-like sculptural museum installations and public art works.