After six full weeks of installation, Untitled (Large Variation) is complete! Mosaika's Mike, Emily and Jessica were expected to finish on Monday, July 20th, but by the end of that day there were still a few things to do. Jessica flew back to Montreal on the 21st, so Mike and Emily were responsible for wrapping things up. I stopped by early on Tuesday to check on the caulking and a few other details. There is a slight gap between the mural and the steel frame around it, which could not be filled with grout due to the risk of cracking and damage in the event of an earthquake, so flexible caulking was used. Mike and I settled on a medium grey, which I think works well as it blends in with the frame.
By the end of the morning, it was clear that a few more hours of work were needed, so Mike asked me to stop in again at the end of the day. Upon my return, the caulking was finished and Emily had completed all the remaining minor repairs. Mosaika's installation team is accustomed to the intricacies of packing and shipping tools and supplies to the worksite, but they also acquire and amass a lot of equipment once they arrive on location. Things like plastic buckets, extension cords, shop towels, trowels, plastic sheeting and tape--as well as volatile things, like epoxy and solvents--are not worth shipping (or carrying in personal luggage) to the worksite, so they are purchased when the the job commences. So there were lots of little items left over at the end of the job. Mike and I had already agreed that I would take the extra tile and grout, in case the mural requires repair. So, I arrived late in the afternoon with a collapsible hand truck and a heavy duty storage bin. The three of us sorted through the supplies and tools and decided what I would take, what would be shipped to the next job site and what would be thrown away.
As we worked, I was suddenly aware that these were our last moments together. Even though we'd had a few opportunities to socialize and celebrate together during the team's stay in San Francisco, I realized that we'd have no chance for a final toast or a even a moment to see the work in full since the black curtain barrier, a mere eight feet from the wall and eight feet tall, obscured the bottom two-thirds of the mural. In addition, the floor was still covered with masonite sheets, paper and plastic. So, even though I felt a surge of excitement about being "finished," we did not have a chance to see the culmination of our efforts.
After a while, our sorting and packing was finished. Mike, Emily and I looked at each other and said, "well, this is goodbye." I cursed myself for not thinking ahead and bringing a bottle of champagne. We took a quick 'selfie,' gathered up our things, thanked each other, hugged goodbye and headed to the parking structure. I can't begin to thank everyone at Mosaika. They are talented, professional, creative, fun people and I so enjoyed every minute of our collaboration.
Two days later, on July 23rd, a team meeting was scheduled for the reveal. It was a large group: architects, construction managers, lighting experts and SFAC team members. I confess that, at this point, I was nervous! It was very difficult to work on the piece for so long without being able to really SEE it. I arrived a bit early. The barrier was down. The temporary furniture and floor covering had been removed, the carpet had been cleaned and the wall around the mural had been painted. Finally, I could see it, in full, looking very much as I'd hoped it would. Relief. Then happiness, as the team members appeared, one-by-one.
On Friday night, July 24th, John Janca photographed the mural. This was our third photoshoot. We'll have one more in November, when the construction around the mural is complete and after all of the permanent furniture is installed. It was really interesting to observe the passengers moving through the space. Every few minutes, hundreds of people streamed through. John took some wide shots of the mural as well as a few details, below.
Now that I am back in the studio full time without my daily jaunts to SFO, I feel as though a big chunk of myself is a still out there in Terminal 3, alongside the San Francisco Bay. Having grown up here and having spent most of my life in the Bay Area, it is an honor to have a permanent piece in my hometown airport.
I am so grateful to the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco International Airport and Mosaika Art & Design for this experience.