Alternative Spring Break in Chicago
Nina Palomba has a website full of her doodles and creations. But for her latest project, she worked on a much grander scale. The Wyoming native, who graduated from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2013, was selected to create a wall-size graﬃti mural on Our Lady of Tepeyac School in the Windy City as part of the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program sponsored by the Student Conservation Association and American Eagle Outfitters.
Palomba, 23, discusses how the project reached fruition.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH ALTERNATE SPRING BREAK?
Palomba: Meghan [Coleman, a graphic artist who is coordinating the art project for ASB] told me she wanted to discuss a project with me. I was really excited about that! It was quite the process, from getting the art approved, to having to strip back everything and say this works and this doesn’t. The painting itself has been pretty easy and really fun. I didn’t think it would be so smooth when I was told I only had four to five days to finish it!
WHAT WAS THE PROCESS FOR CREATING THE MURAL?
Palomba: We put the design on transparencies then used a projector to project it onto the wall. After that, we traced the design with spray paint. Tracing it took about eight hours, I think. We started with 12 to 18 spray cans of each of the five colors we used: red, black, white, yellow and blue. I was hoping we wouldn’t run out! Then it was just a matter of cleaning up the design on the wall and bringing it all together. Having the lift was great because it made it super easy to reach the top and paint eﬃciently.
WHAT MESSAGE IS YOUR DESIGN SENDING TO THE COMMUNITY AND CHICAGO?
Palomba: With my work I just try to make people laugh and be happy! I want to make things that are lighthearted and fun. I hope people take away that it’s made for them and that when they see it they will be happy! We are working hard on this for them because we care!
HOW DOES THIS PROJECT TIE IN WITH SCA’S DESIRE TO GET PEOPLE OUTDOORS?
Palomba: This project seems really cohesive with that message and that’s why I’m so excited to be a part of it. I’m from Wyoming, so I definitely understand how important the national parks are and being outdoors is. We’re outside creating something that is unique, and it’s exciting that people come out and ask what’s going on. The mural gets people jazzed up because it’s so big and in your face and awesome to look at.
WHAT ARE YOU TAKING AWAY FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
Palomba: This was a really great project to do. Chicago is a very special place to me. I’ve never lived in a place that felt so much like home, so doing this project here is really awesome. I love that it’s on a school, because I hope to inspire people through creating and of course kids learning and experiencing great things. It’s super lovely to see the little kids getting excited to watch us paint. They watch us and are just in awe. It’s awesome!