Muralist James Morgan and multimedia artist Christopher Clark collaborated with three artists from Creativity Explored and three from Laguna Honda Hospital to create “Animals and the Natural Environment,” a mural on four walls in a recreation alcove at the hospital, and on the Web.
Creativity Explored, founded in 1984, is the only full-time art center in San Francisco serving adults with developmental disabilities. Prior to undertaking this project, Morgan and Clark had worked as teachers and volunteers at the agency. Morgan also had pioneered an approach to painting murals with Creativity Explored artists: The Creativity Explored artists would paint onto Masonite, which Morgan then cut out, arranging their imagery onto a painted background. The result was dynamic, colorful, and textured. He replicated this process for “Animals and the Natural Environment,” working with the talented artists Cam Quach, Betty Benard and Yolanda Ramirez from Creativity Explored and James Cunningham, Maura Frias, and Bob Neil from Laguna Honda Hospital.
The finished murals depict a mountain, a jungle, a savannah, and a wetlands area. As the murals were developing, Clark’s Internet site illustrated the process and invited website visitors to manipulate the imagery to create different versions of the murals, or experiment with how they would look on different walls found around San Francisco.
James Morgan began this project with more than 20 years of experience painting murals throughout the Bay Area. Among other projects, he was responsible for organizing the Lowell Street Mural Project in Oakland’s Golden Gate District. Chris Clark seeks to blur the distinctions between traditionally assigned roles of curator, administrator, and artist. At the time of this project, his previous on-line pieces included “California Uber Alles,” Monsterism No1,” “Monsterism, No2,” and “Custom Corpse.”