Judgment of Paris

Submitted by John Wehrle

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Project

Client: Meridian High School

Location: Bellingham, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $48,000

Project Team

Artist

John Wehrle

Artist

Rhonda Greenblat

Paper Doll

Public Art Agent

Rebecca Solverson

Washington State Arts Commission

Client

James Everett

Meridian High School

Overview

Washington State Art Commission funded this project for Meridian High School in Bellingham. The four related wall paintings reflect local history and landscape coupled with literary conceits of the school Mascot, “The Trojans”. The work, painted on polyester in studio, was designed for multiple spaces throughout the newly constructed school and features former students and previous (now demolished) buildings in Homeric Narratives.

Goals

The process included meetings with School Art Committee and Rebecca Solverson of ARTSWA to choose scope and placement as well as theme of the work. My method of working involves extensive visual research of local culture, printed material, history and landscape. I take a lot of photographs of everything. Since the site is a school, I included educational components, such as the Pythagorean cloud window over the ariel landscape (You are here), a double helix jet trail and, of course visual reference to the Trojan horse, Achilles and Paris's dilemma with the goddesses.

Process

I was chosen by the school committee, based on previous completed projects. I listened carefully to their desires and concerns and created a small scale design of four related paintings from that information and visual reconnaissance of the interior atrium space. With minor additions the maquette was transformed into the larger scale paintings in my CA studio. Rhonda Greenblat (Paper Doll) and I installed the work on site using removable adhesive materials and techniques. Rebecca Solverson managed the project for ARTS WA, creatively and successfully. And Principal James Everett and the committee made this public art project a pleasure.