Internationally renowned artist Domingo Zapata celebrated the completion of NYC’s largest mural last evening with a cocktail reception held at the St. Cloud rooftop bar at The Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square. The piece, entitled “Life is a Dream” takes up three sides of the iconic 1 Times Square building and covers 33,000 square feet.
As an artist myself, (photographer, writer, storyteller, poet, and journalist) I somewhat understand the creative process. I say “somewhat” as I feel know one every fully comprehends this process. It, like life itself is an everlasting, ongoing journey, one which should never really come to an end. Some facets of the process can be explained more easily and in more finite terms than other aspects. One such item is the fear of expression. The is real. True artistic creation and expression involves sharing the artists creations with others. At times that could just be one person although more often than not it involves sharing your work many people. In Domingo’s case with Life is a Dream, it means sharing it with millions of souls, displaying it for all to see high above the streets of one of the busiest public spaces in the world. This involves risk. Risk of rejection, risk of critics negative reviews, risks that what your have shared, often times from the depths of ones own life journey may not receive universal acceptance.
In Mr. Zapata’s case not only did he open himself up to the somewhat unquantifiable risk of rejection in his quest to share his creative vision with the world he exposed himself to extremely real and definite risk of personal injury up to and including loss of life as he worked for several weeks from a scaffold hanging hundreds of feet above the streets of NYC to create his finished product. One on occasion the scaffold became stuck and he required the assistance the brave men and women of the FDNY. I explain this to show the lengths this artist was willing to go through to share his vision.
A mural of this unprecedented size allows the artist to include so many small details that it could take several hours just to take it all in and fully enjoy the masterpiece. Some items of interest include names of other artists and bottles of fine wine as well as an appearance by the Mona Lisa possibly a nod to past masters although the real reason she is there may remain as much a mystery as why she is smiling in the first place.
In a city truly blessed with some of the finest displays of free public art, in a neighborhood that prides itself on the finest displays of public art, the final questions remain; If I am in NYC in Times Square either for work or pleasure should I make it a point to walk over and take in the beauty that is Life is a Dream? If I am not normally in Times Square or NYC should I make a special trip to view this masterpiece? If I life and or work in NYC outside of Times Square should I make the effort/ trip to view this piece? The answer – a resounding YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!
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