austin/ speakeasy

Submitted by Katie Merz

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Client: Here Nor There / Speakeasy

Location: Austin, TX, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $10,000

Project Team

Artist

Katie Merz

Architect

Allen Delesantro

Standard Architects

Overview

Austin Texas Speakeasy Exterior with entry through an alley on the left. The imagery and language on the face of the building is a compressed language that is made up of images and words that express the speakeasy and the work space next door. It is a compressed map of the contents of the interior. Dimension – 28' x 23 ' Material -OIl stick on matte black exterior paint / This was done on the spot – I had no plan – I was freestyle drawing in one hand while holding a list of words in another.

Goals

My intention was to make a compressed piece of language that was kinetic and that could hold the facade of the new piece of architecture as well. My intention was to make a LIVE wall by using just simple, tensile line. I was working with Standard architects - who were very generous in giving me a huge amount of creative freedom I grew up with two parents that were architects so my respect and reverence for architecture is great. I did try to innovate a new plane in which line and architecture could meet. I tried to create an architectural space onto the surface of architecture without using and literal or architectural techniques. I tried to describe the architecture of language in two dimensions.

Process

Standard Architects had designed a building that I had just worked on. They hired me to do their next project in Austin. It also included the interior stairway that leads down to the subterranean speakeasy as well. I was constanltly in dialogue with one of the lead architects ( Alan Delesandro )about the logistics of the project but for the most part they trusted me to do what I thought would look best. They thought that a half split between black and white space would look best- so I filled out the language with white dimensional space. There was a scaffold over the wall so I could not see it until I came down a second time to do the inner hallway. I was horrified and surprised with the results! I did not imagine it to look like a giant strange pushed painting that was so prominently standing into the street.