Mural: UP Town Center

Commissioned | July 07, 2016

It is the first large scale artwork of my life and it had to be documented. It’s massive, it’s suspended, it had to be done upside down.

Last May, Ayala Malls, had commissioned artists to handpaint a ceiling panel each at Ayala’s newest mall in Quezon City, UP Town Center. In this mall, they’ve built an area called the Urban Turf which they’ve dedicated for youngsters. Naturally, their goal was to transform this space into the most playful and hip part of the establishment. The main idea was to set up a student hub that looks fresh, young and creative. Hence, the murals. Our brand, Nava, also has a physical store here so I was easily tapped to be among the pool of artists who would paint on the panels. Other artists include Mansy Abesamis of Hey Kessy, and Robert Alejandro of Papemelroti

I’ve never done an artwork as large as this before and I was terribly nervous at first. Add to it the idea that I have this slight fear of heights and I’d have to execute it on a scaffolding with my head tilted up the whole time. It was overwhelming. I honestly didn’t know where and how I was going to begin. Because I didn’t have a team, I had to study techniques and the mural process on my own.

My initial design featured a lettered quote by Roald Dahl. I planned to do it vertically, and oriented only towards one side. But after analyzing and thinking about how I was going to go about it, I realized the amount of tedious measuring it would take just to plot the elements since the design was very balanced and symmetrical. So I scratched the idea and moved on to sketching a whole different piece.

My second design was what I ended up painting. And instead of doing just one long quote, I worked with multiple short happy phrases. It dawned on me that that quickest way to do the panel was to make my piece as flexible as possible so that I can easily tweak errors I might commit in the process.

The second plan worked well. And if you look closely, you can observe that what I drafted on paper is a bit different from the finished mural. This is mainly because I chose to spend minimum effort on measuring. I wanted to just play it by ear (or by eye >_<) and deal as the piece developed.

With much help from my fiance, we were able to complete the mural in 12 afternoons (that were limited to 5-hour shifts only because neck pains happen past 5 hours) to finish this 17-square meter ceiling artwork.

Watch us in action: We’ve created a time lapse video of the process. Hope you enjoy!

This mural is at UP Town Center (phase 2), Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City. Do take selfies when you see it and don’t forget to tag me when you post!