New Documentary Follows Moore Faculty Member's Collaboration with Poet

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    Photo by David Guinn
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    Photo by David Guinn
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    Photo by David Guinn
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    Photo by David Guinn
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    Photo by David Guinn
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    Photo by David Guinn
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    Photo by David Guinn
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    Photo by David Guinn
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    Photo by David Guinn

Moore Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts and muralist David Guinn can relive the height and the heat of one of his biggest projects through a new documentary.

The 15-minute film, by Surface Below Media, follows Guinn as he collaborates with former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove in the making of the mural that now graces the side of the nine-story-high Graduate Charlottesville hotel near the University of Virginia Campus. Dove is a resident of Charlottesville, and teaches at the university.

“The design is inspired by one of her poems called Testimonial,” said Guinn. “I met with Rita to come up with a design that kind of embodied the spirit of the poem.”

The collaboration is part of the “Paint & Poetry Series” by the Charlottesville Mural Project and New City Arts, which pairs an artist with a poet in the creation of a mural.

The film, directed by Ross McDermott, chronicles the making of the mural. McDermott is the co-founder of the Charlottesville Mural Project and was familiar with Guinn’s work.

“I talked with Rita about what she likes in terms of visual things and what her aesthetics are,” Guinn said. The two came up with a colorful work of art featuring abstract geometric shapes and curved lines, yellows and light colors contrasting with heavier, dark and deep colors.

Work began in July last year, and it took five weeks of painting every day for hours. Guinn’s good friend Josh Smith, an artist from Philadelphia, helped with the painting.

“We’d start at 8 am, usually, sometimes earlier on hot days,” Guinn said. “Oh my god, it was so hot. We had a heat gun thermometer from the paint company, and at one point we determined the temperature of the roof to be 180 degrees.”

Guinn was pleasantly surprised that Dove wanted to paint some of the mural.

“She came up on the scaffolding with me,” he said. Dove also helped create the stencil for the lettering of one line of the poem that appears high on the wall: The world called, and I answered.

The full poem appears lower on the mural.

“My wife and daughter haven’t seen it totally finished,” Guinn said. “I think we’re going to go there this summer for a little vacation.”

Read more about the mural and documentary here.

Published on March 20th, 2017