This is a Project Recipient of the Knight Arts Challenge Grant

On March 15, 2016, Richard Rogers was awarded a grant from the Knight Foundation to realize The Curated Storefront in downtown Akron. Rogers was named as one of 27 grantees whose projects will "engage and enrich the city through the arts." The winning proposals were selected from a pool of over 500 applications. “Art can help define and lift the soul, helping to create a sense of place and binding us to each other and to our community,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “Here in Akron, where Knight Foundation was founded, our hope is that the arts will continue to build community, in neighborhoods all across the city.”  

Hearts, Koi Fish & Gemstones Flow, 2017 

Decorating surfaces with brightly colored stickers in positive symbols and good luck motifs creates an atmospheric vibration that attracts prosperity and abundance to site of the application, drawing attention, leading to transformative changes.

 

For the historic Art Deco storefront and The Akron Civic Theatre Kiosk, I have chosen inspirational imagery found in Japanese and Chinese decorative arts to highlight the beauty of these modern and historic architectural designs highlighting them with vibrant graphics in magenta, bubble gum pink, lime green, and golden yellow.  Vivid cobalt blue lighting on the Whitehall building activates the night with a moving water effect that compliments the swimming fish and flower viynl stickered landscape.

 

Images of hearts dripping with love (symbols of fertility) and faceted gemstones in citrine (representing the heart), pierdot (for growth), ruby (strength), and rose quartz (love/friendship/positive connections) energetically float amid large goldfish and waves of flourishes.  The golden yellow Koi fish motifs swimming about the windows are traditionally known to draw good luck and peace to the environment in which they are featured.

Gemstones, known in ancient lore to be created by sunlight trapped in the earth and crystallized by extreme heat and pressure are very much the way stars in space are formed.  When these rocks of compressed sunlight are found, polished, and faceted into jewels they emit prismatic light becoming desirable precious stones used for personal adornment.  Ancient painters crushed gemstones into powders and mixed with oils to make paints for their luminous masterpieces.

 

As the gemstone window vinyl graphics (some of which are available for acquisition in the Candy SHOP) adorn the surfaces of these spaces they attract sparkle in their own way, attracting the attention of passers giving new life and a different perspective.  Some of the gemstones ride on the stylized “waves” with the Koi fish and tumbling themselves into a six-sided “rondelle” forms. Rondelles are forms that happen to also be water symbols themselves; a frozen water drop closely related to the six-pointed snowflake formation.  Dr. Masaru Emoto did many experiments involving the mysteries of water, consciousness, and intent. He undertook research of water around the planet from clear mountain springs to stagnant ponds by taking droplet samples and having them frozen to study their structures under a microscope.  He also took samples from two jars of water; one had the word thank you taped to it and the other had a negative words attached to the jar.  Amazing discoveries occurred with all the samples.  The frozen droplets of the springs when frozen became beautifully formed six-pointed snowflake shapes and those of the polluted water were very distorted.  The thank you water revealed six-pointed gemlike shapes while the negative was found deformed with a chaotic, fragmented structure. Further experiments revealed that when water was treated with aromatic floral oils, the water crystals tended to mimic the shape of the original flower.

 

With these experimental results in mind the fish, gemstones, leaves, and the “flourishes” of energy waves they ride on come together at these sites in community to create a design of full of good luck and prosperity for all that gaze upon them. It is the hope that by “candy coating” these windows with symbols of prosperity and abundance that they may work their “magic” in Akron to cause it to revive thrive and flourish like the flowers and leaves depicted in the reflective transparent surfaces.  Sometimes we cannot see the immediate results of such affirmations, yet as has been proven with Dr. Emoto’s experiments and through repeated positive imaging/imagining we can change the spaces that surround us for the betterment of our environment, our world, and ourselves.

Energy Flows from Serpent's Lips, Drips & Butterfly Wings, 2018

Little Mayflower Building on Main Street, Downtown Akron, Ohio

 

Vibrant graphics in amethyst purple, pink, lime green, sky blue, carnelian orange, and reflective iridescent rainbow beam with radiance as they decoratively create atmospheric vibrations of positivity on neglected buildings, renewing and invigorating the energetic atmosphere of the urban environment.  Brightly colored vinyl stickers (some of which are available for acquisition in the Candy SHOP) candy coat the facades of these abandoned storefronts, dramatically changing their appearance drawing attention that can lead to transformational community change.

Signature motifs of dripping hearts, blooming flowers, growing leaves, energy waves, and faceted jewels in this mural can also be found on the same street at the historic Akron Civic Theatre Kiosk and the Art Deco style Whitehall Building. Gemstone window vinyl graphics adorn the surfaces of these spaces as they uniquely sparkle, attracting the attention of passersby thus giving the space a renewed life while offering a different perspective.

The symbolic imagery highlighted in the mural are inspired by the artist’s never ending love for pattern making, Japanese decorative arts and textiles, and the attributes of crystals, both raw and refined. The graphic motifs of the storefronts were created by scanning the artist’s sketch book drawings and her handmade paper-cuts, digitizing them in a vector computer program, then scaling up their size and laying them out to be cut from rolls of sign maker’s window vinyl. The storefront windows are created on-site from the imagination of the artist and consist of hundreds and hundreds of stickers. The designs are peeled from many sheets of the vinyl material and applied individually via transfer method to the window surfaces, building up the mural one sticker at a time.

In this storefront titled “Energy Flows from Serpents Lips, Drips & Butterfly Wings”, hearts and gems tumble from the mouths of snakes slithering amid raw crystals, leafed flowers, and flourishing energy waves as rainbow sparkling butterflies drip reflective light.  The serpent motifs represent fertility, continual renewal of life, and the concept of creativity as a life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they have come to symbolize rebirth, transformation, and healing.  Butterflies represent powerful transformation, metamorphosis in life, renewal, rebirth, lightness of being, and playfulness- much like the storefronts have.

In ancient lore, it is known that gemstones are created by sunlight trapped in the earth crystallized by extreme heat and pressure; very much akin to the way stars in space are formed.  When these rocks of compressed sunlight are found, polished, and faceted into jewels they emit prismatic light becoming desirable precious stones used for personal adornment.  Ancient painters crushed gemstones into powders and mixed with oils to make paints for their luminous masterpieces.  Here they are visually and conceptually used in a similar way; painting with stickers building up symbolic imagery and their meanings are:

Amethyst purple/violet: representing the crown of the head, Amethyst is a stone of transformation, healing and cleansing. It vibrates at a high frequency, creating a bubble of spiritual protection against negative energy. An Amethyst crystal is a natural stress reliever that encourages inner strength and peace. Amethyst crystals are said to bring wealth and invoke a strong business. They are healing stones of spiritual growth and protection.

Peridot green: Peridot green, the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy is associated with meanings of growth, harmony, freshness, safety, and environment. Green is the color of nature, fertility, balance, and life. Grass green is the most restful color and symbolizes wellbeing. It also means learning, growth and harmony.

Carnelian orange: Known as a stone of motivation and endurance, leadership and courage Carnelians are a glass orange colored translucent mineral of the Quartz family translucent stone.  They have protected and inspired throughout history.

Pink Rose quartz: Rose Quartz is the stone of universal love. It restores trust and harmony in relationships, encouraging unconditional love. Rose Quartz purifies and opens the heart at all levels to promote love, friendship, deep inner healing and feelings of peace.  It will bestow a peaceful and calming sensation that can assist in healing of the heart, by dissolving anger and resentment.  Love of your country and your fellow human beings is also included within this stones influence. 

Pale sky blue: It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect.

Rainbow Iridescent: Rainbows usually occur after a storm or rain shower, and they are the result of refracted sunlight hitting raindrops. This produces the optical appearance that is a rainbow. While the sun often shines after a rain shower, conditions are not always perfect to produce the appearance of a rainbow. For this reason, rainbows are considered special across many cultures.

 

The symbols of transformation and renewal that decorate the neglected storefronts have renewed them, providing the way for future growth and prosperity.  Art transforms and influences buildings, communities, people and places.  Each is a gem ready to sparkle with the right light.