“What Is The City But The People” 89,000 Polycarbonate Tiles and Stainless Steel Cables, 30,000 sq.ft

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Client: Central Oklahoma Parking and Transit Authority

Location: Oklahoma City, OK, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Artist

Martin Donlin

Martin Donlin Ltd

Project Manager

Anton Morton

Kasum Contemporary Fine Art, Inc.

Architect

Anthony McDermid

TAP Architecture

Project Engineer

Debarun Das

City of Oklahoma City

GC Project Manager

Zachary McGrath

Manhattan Construction Company

Photography

Steve Voelker

Steve Voelker Photography

Overview

“What Is The City But The People” Is an artwork that weaves together an eclectic mixture of cultural and natural elements, with inspiration drawn from both ancient and modern worlds.
The artwork was inspired by the multitude of histories, and above all, the people
that unified to create what Oklahoma City is today.

The design is reminiscent of a “Frieze” that wraps around the building to encapsulate, celebrate and honour the particular “Spirit” of Oklahoma citizens. There are just 15 separate colours that make up the entire design. The family of colours are drawn from the earthy tones of the landscape to be set against the beautiful blue skies of Oklahoma. The background imagery is inspired by ancient cultural symbols that have been abstracted to form a rhythmical pattern that is as diverse as the many cultures that give Oklahomans their distinct character.

As the viewer moves around the facility the 40 ft high figures appear and disappear in a parade of colour. From inside the artwork becomes and abstracted field of coloured walls.

Goals

The intension was to create an airflow skin to completely wrap around the building that still allows views in and out yet still contain an artwork, the artwork was made possible by the Oklahoma City Percent for Art Programme.

Process

Due to the current confinement I am unable to visit the site from the UK, however, I had the enormous good fortune of meeting up with Project Manager Tony Morton the last time I was in Oklahoma City, Tony took care of all the organisation on the ground, from digitising the whole scheme to overseeing the 4.5 month installation, and everything else in between.

Additional Information

The project has generated a great deal of interest from visitors to the City and I an constantly surprised by the amount of images the public have taken from inside and outside the facility.