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Reflections of a Neighborhood: An Artwork Commission Inspired by Boston’s Fort Point

The unpackaging of the 40″ x 60″ metal print

This week marked the culmination of a creative project first proposed to me last fall. What turned out to be a painted photographic collage of a Boston neighborhood began with a couple who appreciate their Fort Point neighborhood.

Over time, through discussions and the taking of photographs, and later poring over photographs, narrowing them down and trying to select just one, we gradually settled on a collage of many of the interesting shapes, lines, and structures around them. As the project evolved, elements from their home and evocative of their time in the US made their way into the scene as well. Eventually even they themselves were incorporated in the form of a shadow silhouette!

My challenge was to creatively weave these many streets and elements together as the basis for a fun, warm painting reflecting their time in a place special to them. At times I wondered how in the world I would include all the elements. I was happy when I realized I could include a view down curvy Melcher Street by creating a “secret passageway” to it at the first landing of the iron staircase.

The artwork installed in its new home

From the beginning we all thought it made sense to have the finished image dye-sublimated onto a 40” x 60” aluminum sheet with a satin finish. When the couple eventually goes back to Europe, the lightweight aluminum will be easier to ship than a paper print framed under glass. Plus, the metal prints look great and seemed a good match aesthetically for this piece.

When the shipment of the finished artwork on metal arrived in Boston, we gathered this week to open it together. I think I can safely say we all loved it. This commission was fun and creatively challenging, and I particularly enjoy knowing it reflects a time and place with special meaning to its new owners. The best part, though, was getting to know them and looking forward to a continuing friendship!

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