As part of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance’s SPARX City Hop, with support from the Union Club, a new 20 ft. by 30 ft. mural will be unveiled this weekend by Cleveland-based photographer Eric Vaughn. It will be unveiled during Saturday’s SPARX City Hop (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) on the east side of the Residences at 668 (668 Euclid Ave.), located just a short walk from SPARX’s Main Hub at Playhouse Square.
With a theme of “Cleveland’s Unique Personality,” organizers recently invited artists involved with SPARX City Hop and City Artists at Work to submit proposals celebrating downtown’s “architecture, history, green space and activity.”
Eric Vaughn’s mural, titled Seen in Public, first glance (Cleveland, August 2016)
, is the latest work from a series originating during Vaughn’s graduate studies at the Maine College of Art from 2010 to 2012. In fact, the series from which the mural originates, Fragments of the Everyday
, was Vaughn’s thesis project for his MFA.
The mural and overall series explore several themes, including photography as a cultural phenomenon and the act of people-watching. The mural’s somewhat pyramidal composition is comprised of thousands of collaged photographic fragments. Although the mural depicts cropped pieces of countless downtown visitors, only a handful are recognizable. Using scale and placement, he layers the people higher than our iconic downtown skyline. Capturing the essence of a busy summer day in Public Square, the mural represents the spirit of the city’s people. Located just blocks from the location where Vaughn took the photos, the mural will greet downtown visitors heading west on Euclid toward the recently renovated Public Square.
“The Sparx City Hop Building Mural, titled Seen in Public, first glance (Cleveland, August 2016)
, is inspired by the act of people-watching and transposes that experience, as near as possible, into a static artwork,” Vaughn explains. “The selected photographs of chance occurrences inform a necessarily incomplete, open-ended, and biased synthesis of observed Clevelanders passing through Public Square as they go about their everyday lives. Just as in people-watching, I pick up on only the most notable external signifiers of who those depicted are via their appearance, apparent relationships, and activities, which is the basis of our ‘knowing.’ The mural represents a social image-text that must be read. The fragmented formal technique offers more information than a single photograph forcing an oscillation of attention where to see a figure is to actively not see others, which slows the reading while still withholding an authoritative singular narrative. Viewers participate by reenacting the interpretive processes of people-watching, using the juxtaposition and repetition of provided imagery as clues to develop their own estimations of identities and narratives. I hope to implicate viewers as actively constructing their view of others from influential social paradigms in which we all participate and shape over time.”
SPARX City Hop takes place again this year from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 17. To begin, stop by the Main Hub, located under the GE Chandelier in front of Playhouse Square to grab a free wristband, which is required to ride the trolleys. Visitors can also explore Playhouse Square’s historic theaters through free, behind-the-scenes, guided tours.
From Playhouse Square’s Main Hub, guests ride free, guided trolley tours on three routes to neighborhoods and districts including Ohio City, Tremont, the Gateway District, Playhouse Square, Campus District, Hingetown, Superior Arts District and Asia Town.
You’ll have an opportunity to explore each neighborhood’s galleries, nonprofits, restaurants, bars, small businesses and more. SPARX also includes 30 performances of live music and performance art at the Main Hub and all eight stops. For more information on SPARX, visit downtowncleveland.com/sparx.
(SPARX City Hop) downtowncleveland.com/sparx