PANDEMIC PASSION: MURAL PROJECT
Overall Murals made, from scratch, something we really love and are proud of. Spoiler alert, it’s not an ad. We painted three big art pieces dedicated to the adventures and misadventures of 2020, thus far, in a package we titled “Do the Right Thing 2020”. The murals can be found on our largest and most unique set of walls in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at the foot of Domino Park.
This is a passion project spearheaded by my partner and I, with immense support from our talented team and the undeniable skills of our favorite artists. If it appeals to you and you’d like to donate to a great cause, head over to our online store. Here you can buy some cool DTRT2020 mural related stuff, like a bandana or print. 100% of the bandana proceeds benefit an important organization, Art Start.
I detail in the article below how we got here and what it means to us. Check out more photos here.
In the middle of the Great Recession, in 2008, my husband, Dmitry Pankov, and I started a little painted sign shop called okMitch Studio. For two years we designed and painted most of our own murals and logos for small and big businesses around New York. When the recession was supposedly over, in 2010, we felt the pull to go bigger and beyond just the two of us. In April that year, we birthed Overall Murals, a hand painted outdoor advertising company. Fast forward 10 years, to 2020, which as many of you know, has been less than ideal. Living in a global pandemic feels like a bad acid trip, making our initial company struggles seem like a birthday party at Disneyland. I can’t imagine there’s one person out there who has not been affected, big or small, inwardly or outwardly, by the unfolding events these last several months.
As an operator of out-of-home locations, the usual space filler on a piece of unsold inventory, might be a company logo, a phone number to “ADVERTISE HERE”, or in some cases, a piece of art. We’ve definitely done one of those before, but given the circumstances, felt it’s the time to contribute more. As an organization that is run by people with art backgrounds and deep artistic passions, there’s an inherent need to make something iconic and that could be a piece of art history. We consciously seek to challenge people’s minds and eyes with what we can create for the world. At the very least we could say we put our blood, sweat and tears into it.
When we first entered New York’s “Pause” this past March, we were naively optimistic. “This will blow over by April… Okay, maybe May. Um, who the hell knows?” The virus continued to permeate our lives but luckily we didn’t lay anyone off and we’re still working. Subsequently, we felt compelled to make work that could respond to this new uncertain world.
If you’ve received any swag from us you would know that OM enjoys making all kinds of merch. Part of our collection includes custom designed bandanas, which we’ve been making for years. This piece of cloth is needed more than ever now, and the next one required a Covid-19 inspired design. My husband concepted and gave direction to illustrator, Pedro Oyarbide, based out of Spain and an artist we have relied on over and over again for quick, yet inventive work. The art we arrived at is of a painter, wearing a shirt with “F___ the Virus” scrawled across it, whilst surfing in the barrel of a wave of viruses bobbing about. Upon its completion, we decided we’d make a coronavirus themed mural with the same artwork.' As June neared, re-openings across the country were impending. Is this big wave finally crashing down? Will business bounce back in a promising V formation? We’re all wondering where the twists and turns will lead us and hoping for the best.
Black Lives Matter. As a result of built up tensions, horrible events, unsettled historical BS, plus to be honest… cabin fever, boredom, economic downturn, and the need to feel alive and that life has purpose… peaceful protests as well as unrest unfurled across our nation. Yes, although this did suck and setback business further, it was a necessary awakening for society.
It became clear to us that developing relevant and informed work was a race against the everchanging newscycle. Internally, we decide to change our bandana up and make the other side dedicated to a guy surfing a wave with BLM stuff floating around him. After some debate, his shirt says, “FTP”. As we reflected on BLM and the rest of the year, the mural’s concept grew.
In only the middle of June, we all felt that although the year is not yet over; it has felt like two years have passed these last three months. “How are you?” is a question we now feel uncomfortable answering.
We are still riding the first uncertain wave of this already monumental, chaotic and unforgettable 2020. The news and discussion of it all is inescapable. Cell phones are glued to our hands and just about everyone is constantly reading, sharing and reposting. At this point, a recap includes the Australian fires, Kobe Bryant’s sad departure, to of course, coronavirus and its massive ripple effects, and then there were swarms of locusts and murder hornets, onto the vital flourishing and uproar of the BLM movement (including supporters and foes) to monumental events like Space X, inexplicably nonstop fireworks, and historical mass nationwide protests… As a world, country, city and people we can’t help discussing and contemplating these experiences. It is in some respect, our responsibility and the most American thing we can do to exercise our right to engage in these conversations. We’ve all been provoked.