A hard little painting
By Sophia Green
Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your concept for the wall.
Sophia Green: I don’t know if I can say that I had any solid concept before I started. After spending some time at the wall the week prior to starting, I developed points or markers that I knew I had to hit:
Tagging - The location and the wall itself are territories that are constantly being tagged by local graffiti artists and non-artists. I did not want to encroach on anyone’s territory, and it was very important to me that my wall could stand up to and/or play off of the local tagging.
Bldg. & Company - The building’s business is the music industry. The owners went through some of my work and they picked out the ones they felt fit the their vibe/aesthetic.
Location’s Energy - Echo Park is a pocket of LA that, depending on which side of the fence you stand, is either slowly losing or gaining charm due to gentrification. I want it to be bold and grab your attention, but I don't want the piece to stick out and slap you across the face.
I am really so pleased and proud because I believe I hit all three equally.
AM: What was the biggest challenge you faced while completing this piece?
SG: Prior to diving into this venture, I naively never considered what my process or approach is to my work. Over the course of nine days and about 2-3 panic attacks, I very quickly realized just how important a little foresight would have been.
I paint in private. I NEVER show my work until it’s finished. I am not an actor and have never been the most comfortable on any sort of stage. And then of course, I’m painting a mural on Sunset Blvd. in broad daylight. So, my biggest challenge was exposing my vulnerability and putting my ego and perfectionism on the back burner on a daily basis.
In hindsight, if I had considered my process at all, I probably would have never taken on a project of this scale. But as difficult and challenging as these things were for me - there is nothing about it that I would now take back or want to change. I needed to do this for myself and for my work.
AM: How did your process for the wall compare to how you create your smaller scale pieces?
SG: My eyes/vision to the surface area - 19ft x 7.5ft is enormous. The physicality of tackling this amount of surface area, let alone with any aesthetic intention, was considerably different than anything I’ve ever done. My eyes had to adjust and rely almost solely on my peripheral vision. On smaller pieces this isn’t necessary. It took me about six days to figure this out and be able to visualize the entire piece as one and not separate.
AM: How did you choose the location?
SG: I didn't. My mother and I were having dinner with my cousin and his wife one night in early November. Shivaun (his wife) and I were discussing my art and the process of establishing a name for oneself in the art world etc… I told her that for a long time now, I was looking for a wall in the city to paint. She mentioned that her employer owns the building and he had been wanting to find a local artist to paint something on one of the walls. I told her I would love to be considered and asked her where the building was. She told me it was on Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park. And my heart skipped a little beat.
AM: Now that your wall is complete, what can we expect to see from you next?
Sophia Green was born and raised in LA. She was schooled in the woods of Burlington Vermont, where she studied art, history and sociology. "Cement is my paint, my hands are my brushes. Concrete is my art and expression." You can see more of her work and her mural at sophia-green.com.
Check out "True Romance" previously featured on Asymmetric here.