Last fall, five Ciel artists participated in the Hanes “Art Legs” Project, the brainchild of Little Architects and David Kepron. I spent some time with Jonathan Grauel getting the scoop!
“It was inspired by public art projects in other cities, like the rocking chairs in the Chicago airport and the bulls in Fort Worth,” says Grauel. “Except this time it was legs.” Part of a permanent installation at the new Hanes concept store (“Inner Self”) at Charlotte Premium Outlets, this project features mannequin legs transformed by local artists into works of art.
“This was an opportunity to paint on something different, and it was FUN!” It was Grauel’s first time painting in 3D, and came with come comical moments along the way. “Picking up the legs was hilarious, I mean, there are what look like human legs sticking up in the back seat, with my daughter in the front seat rolling her eyes. It looked like a wreck inside my car,” explains Grauel. “Carrying this set of legs out of the store, I felt a bit clandestine and wondered what passersby might be thinking.” The comedy continued at home. “My art portrays villages - where do you put a village on a pair of legs? Placement was a critical consideration. And there came a moment when I realized ‘I am painting on a butt,’” Grauel laughs. “And then my wife walks in and sees me with a pair of legs in my lap, which was fun to explain.”
Ciel artists Emily Andress, Laura Hitchcock, Cindi Spillman and Jen Walls had similar experiences with legs transport and design. And explaining to their families why there was a pair of legs in the middle of the living room.
“The legs were inverted - sticking up in the air,” Grauel explains. “You had to think, now which way is up? Are the toes the sky for my village?” It was also Grauel’s first collaboration on a project with other Ciel artists. “I enjoyed hanging out with them, and it gave me huge respect for their art. I mean, oil painters, a photographer and a mark-maker managed to turn these legs into amazing pieces of art. And all within a two-week deadline. It was extreme art pressure.”
To learn more about the artists participating in this project, visit www.cielcharlotte.com. Visit the Inner Self Hanes concept store at Charlotte Premium Outlets to view the works live.
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