SHCP Haven Ave. Project
BK Proposal 2
OK, so we started out with this concept. And the full text which I had sent on with the backstory is directly below these two images.
The selected species is a White-crowned Pigeon. It is elegant, and quite regal in my opinion, it's subtle but beautiful coloring I think works well for our purposes, and matches up with your interior colors, and the shape works well with the challenges of the wall (the windows).
I thought this specific bird is a great selection for a number of reasons, and below these reasons, I will talk more about the design.
-Bird's Habitat: It is a bird which lives mainly in the Caribbean islands, which is important to me, b/c I had wanted to find a bird which lives in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic to pay tribute to these communities which have had such a strong presence in Washington Heights for decades. The bird does migrate to the USA, but only to Florida, where Boy Kong lives and is from. His partner is originally from Puerto Rico (though has lived in FL since her adolescence) and they will be painting the mural together. I also liked that the white crown evokes a skullcap, and for me the history of Jews (Yeshiva University for example) in Washington Heights, including 4 generations of my own family.
-History and relevance: John James Audubon painted the White-crowned Pigeon, including the watercolor in his work Birds of America, published in the early 19th century. the bird is on the list of our 314 climate threatened birds
-"A fruit Commuter": You could call them “fruit commuters.” The species primarily eats berries, figs, and other fruits, routinely flying from mangroves on their nesting islands to hardwood forests on the adjacent mainland, where they seek out fruiting trees.
The White-crowned Pigeon is a strong flier, regularly making long trips over water between nesting and feeding locales.
When researching birds to choose, I LOVED their description as a commuter, nesting in one place and feeding in another. Given that the primary audience for this mural will be NJ - NYC G.W.B. commuters who also make long trips over water "to feed", the white crowned pigeon feels like a great choice.
-Conservation: The White-crowned Pigeon is a high priority species for the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture (ACJV), a partnership of 17 states and commonwealths from Maine south to Puerto Rico, as well as federal and regional habitat conservation agencies and organizations, and I liked that the bird is the beneficiary of multi-governmental and NGO agencies. Cooperation!
-Pigeon: The pigeon is, like in so many other urban habitats, closely associated with NYC, and I liked that it's a sorta tribute to NYC, but in a way encouraging people to look closer since this species is not to be found at all in the Northeast. And that birds are much more varied than people realize. Their diversity is extraordinary.
Getting back to the design, I like this composition b/c it allows us to fit a large bird onto a wall with lots of windows, which is not as simple as might seem. Most viewers will see it from the bridge, so the size is helpful. The plant and grapes are: Coccoloba uvifera (scroll down to look at pictures), and while we are only showing you a first draft of the north wall, please understand that the branches of this tree can easily be extended to the front wall and also to the back wall, where we can paint additional leaves and fruit. the branches, leaves and fruit work with the 200 Haven color palette, and additional birds (smaller) resting on branches is possible. The bird is subtle, but the leaves and fruit can be accented with bolder lines and color. I think a wraparound to the front would be easy on this go around, and possibly on the back, though there may still be access issues to do it in a fluid way.I had wanted something art deco influenced and while this does not go in that direction, I feel like it works well, and it does not feel wrong for the building.
Which brings us to revisions
Based on your issues with the [white crowned] pigeon, [a bird which I personally think is generally extraordinary, beautiful, and worthy of our consideration,,, and bear in mind this species is different from the normal NYC Rock Pigeon], I asked Boy to look at the original John James Audubon image, which is below left, and he added some coloring (right image) to the original drawing to make it more dynamic, and more in line with the historical image, though no question it still looks like a pigeon.
Here is a mockup of the newly colored design on north side of the building:
After seeing that, we thought maybe we should try to color it, giving it bolder accent lines which we’ve discussed, bearing in mind your liking of Boy’s recent fish design:
So, first thing Boy did was play with the color, play with neon (image on the left), then simply line-work (middle) and finally using the primary image with those bold accent lines.
I DO NOT LIKE the first image (left).
I do think something interesting could be done with the center image, though this approach is not my preference.
Finally, I do like the direction of the image on the right, which uses our tweaked design and tacks on some bolder outlines.
If there is a germ of an idea with this pigeon that you like, we can further refine the concept, but if you simply do not like the bird or the basic composition, then we need to move in another direction fast.
When we had searched for birds, we decided that one way to limit our selections would be to choose birds which frequent both both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Some of these [hyperlinked] birds are:
White-crowned Pigeon (the one we have been working with up till now)