T

here are some projects that are feel-good and some that just pay the bills. For Charlyne Alexis (Artist & Designer) and Stephanie Gamarra (Story Artist with a Fine Art / Design background), this project with Patagonia was both.

Listen to the captivating recap of their story here:

Patagonia asked the two artists to partner with the Green Village Initiative, an excellent non-profit organization who's mission it is "to grow food, knowledge, leadership and community, through urban gardening and farming, to create a more just food system in Bridgeport [Connecticut]."

For more resources on food deserts/sustainability & to learn more about the Green Village Initiative's work & mission, check out these links below:

https://www.gogvi.org/

https://www.vox.com/2015/12/22/10644738/food-desert-evidence

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22285863/community-fridges-neighborhoods-free-food

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2022/9/7/23340896/inflation-world-hunger-food-security-world-bank

https://www.vox.com/22559293/food-waste-expiration-label-best-before

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQeorPkPLmU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDbENx9c3Fg

Read here for the full transcript:

Connor Murdock
It's early 2020 and Charlene Alexis is working as an independent artist in Connecticut. And things were a bit slow on the business front.

Charlyne
Once the pandemic hit, a lot of things shifted because everything was like so up in the air.

Connor Murdock
The pandemic was pretty much in full swing at this point. And that's when Charlene got a call from her old boss at Patagonia.

Charlyne
My old boss at the time had remembered me, and he's like, "Hey, would you like to do this?" That was May 2020. And I'm like, "Sure, I'm not doing any. Like, we're all just hanging out, waiting for the sky to fall!" So I had previously worked with Patagonia, I had done their store greeting card, promotional stuff... Patagonia shares their store greeting cards with other stores. And when they came up with this project, I guess they're like, "Find that artist."

Connor Murdock  
So, Patagonia wanted Charlene to partner up with one of their local favorite partners, the Green Village initiative to create a stunning painted mural for their Westport, Connecticut storefront, highlighting all of the amazing work that the Green Village initiative does to promote urban farming and sustainability. And they knew they loved Charlyne's work, but Charlyne had an idea to help make sure this project got off without a hitch. And that was to bring her friend Stephanie Gamora, an amazing artist, to the project.

Charlyne
I knew that Stephanie had more experience doing murals than I did. And I'm like, "Okay, let's pull in someone who has little shortcuts that can make this faster and better."

Connor Murdock
And what was Stephanie's answer?

Stephanie
I also was also on my couch waiting for the sky to fall. I was like, "Okay, yeah, sure!"

Connor Murdock
So, the duo got to work scoping out the project.

Charlyne
Once I got in touch with the manager at Patagonia, Westport, she gave us kind of the scope... it's a super busy intersection. It'll get a lot of views. These are windows. And we're hoping to pull this off soon. I'm not sure there was a creative brief...  I do remember it being a bit of a back and forth, because they did have a set budget...

Stephanie
It's a conversation... about hopes, wants, ideals.... asking about the budget [and] kind of getting a sense for a timeline. Because if you know what the space you're working with [is], perhaps showing examples that kind of mimic that type of atmosphere. So for example, if we're doing a painting on glass, I'm not going to show them paintings on canvas. So, then collaborating and talking with Charlyne and being like, well, "if we do this, then we have to do it in this time, in order to actually benefit from all the work that we're putting in."

Connor Murdock
On top of all those logistics, this project required some on-the-ground research at one of the local urban farms where the Green Village initiative was teaching kids about building sustainable food systems in their own communities.

Charlyne
They know more about the project than we do. They live it. They're there every summer. Kids had been doing that for three or four years. And we're like, "What is the proper representation of this project of GVI to you? What would you like to see?"

Stephanie
That totally drove our desire. It was a foundation of our design for sure....So this whole process, it took a couple of months to get it officially green-lit.

Connor Murdock
And eventually, Patagonia accepted Charlyne and Stephanie's proposal. So, there was finally an approved plan in place. And it was game day, the day they paint the mural.

Stephanie
It was in November that we did this. It is rainy... and cold.

Connor Murdock  
Even with the cold, rainy weather, starting early that morning with big cups of coffee in one hand and paint brushes in the other, they painted and painted and painted.

Stephanie  
We worked really hard that day.

Charlyne
We did get to know their customer base while we were working. They were cheering us on! They're like "Wait, first of all, can I go through this door or that other door?" And we're like, "Well, maybe not this door, we're painting that one, but that other door, yes!"

Connor Murdock
And at the end of the day, they had transformed what was once a normal glass storefront in a busy intersection into a gorgeous piece of art with luscious green vines, grass and leaves shooting up from the bottom of the window dawning bright tomatoes that were so vibrantly painted, you wanted to take a bite. The call to action painted in white, bold type in between those vines and the clouds above: "Support local urban farming."

Charlyne
I prefer to work with those who have a connection with cultural or social or environmental issues. That's more my bread and butter. Because when I'm making something that didn't previously exist, it has to have purpose. It has to have placement in this world, and if it's not to make it [the world] better than what is it actually for?

Connor Murdock
That was Charlene Alexis and Stephanie Gamarra, two amazing artists. You can find their portfolios on blog.coworkly.com... And thanks for listening!

Posted 
Dec 25, 2022
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