Client: Montclair New Jersey's Business Improvement District (BID)
Location: Montclair, NJ, United States
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $21,700
This 96′ x 26′ (solo) & 21′ x 9.5′ (community mural) commissioned by Montclair’s Business Improvement District (BID), borrows from some of the elements that make this city uniquely charming and beautiful. The smaller wall (right) features a community mural painted by over 200+ locals over the course of two days as an event for Montclair’s monthly Small Business Saturday.
This project brought a series of murals to Montclair, New Jersey. Our wall, the largest of the 4, sought to celebrate the heart of Montclair, New Jersey, as a charming, beautiful town with deep artistic roots. We dove into its history and elected to highlight Montclair's artistic beauty as well as its natural splendor. For this reason, we used a bust carved by sculptor and long-time resident of Montclair William Couper as reference, as well as irises from Montclair's own Presby Memorial Iris Garden. The intention was to juxtapose nature's organic compositions with the human ability to manipulate even hard stone into a myriad of aesthetic potentialities.
We worked with the Montclair Business Improvement District, the property owner, and the stakeholders on creating a fitting design. Along with the large, solo wall, there was an adjacent "community wall" which would be painted by the public. It took coordination with the city and different media, such as newspapers, TV, online releases, and social media to spread the word about the "community painting event" weekend. Though it was conducted during a snowy weekend, the event saw about 250 people paint together thanks to a large collective effort. At the onset of the project there were parties that opposed the mural project due to alternative ideas for budget allocation, but had a profound change of heart after witnessing these murals come to life and the level of all-inclusive participation that was achieved.
The following is a review from the Montclair Center BID Executive Director Jason Gleason, the project's liaison: "Jhonattan is not only a consummate professional, but the energy and passion that he brings to his work is truly unique and awe inspiring. You can't put a $ value on what the man can bring to a space/community. It's been months since he last had brush to wall in my township, and I'm still stopped on the street almost daily with business owners and citizens alike asking about him personally and wanting to know when he will be back. He left such a large mark on this community both with his incredible masterwork of a mural, but also with his infectious positivity and captivating wisdom. I couldn't possibly give a higher recommendation. Five stars doesn't fully explain the utmost respect I have for the Art of Anon. Though his art is truly incredible, what Jhonattan provides to a place stretches so much further than paint on a wall." —Jason Gleason, Montclair Business Improvement District Director