So excited to share this with you! In late 2018, I had the opportunity to work alongside Event Network creatives and The Florida Aquarium to bring the watery world of the Florida Keys to guests visiting the new Channelside district in Tampa!
In this blog, I'll be sharing the following;
- The project conception and purpose
- The process behind painting massive digital murals
- Final artwork now on display at The Florida Aquarium for public enjoyment
After the architects and designers had created the new gift shop space, with a focus on conservation messaging by using sustainable and repurposed materials, they left a 13'x13' ceiling viewport which hovers over guests as they enter the shop, and to either side of the checkout counters were two vertical 3'x6' windows, all perfect for three murals that would immerse guests in the experience of the aquarium.
Early Rendering, Digital Artwork by Kelly Quinn
Together with the Event Network team comprised of Jose Flores and Michael Early as well as The Florida Aquarium store director, Ian Brooks, we brainstormed ideas for the murals, and after a month of preparations, I created the first digital renderings of the proposed "Immersion" murals.
Installed Ceiling Mural at The Florida Aquarium, digital artwork by Kelly Quinn
After further discussion, Event Network proposed the massive murals should be printed on a lightweight fabric and then backlit to create the feeling of emanating light filtering through the ocean as you walk through the space. This aspect of the project really pulled together the feeling of life jumping out at you from the artwork!
After the original concepts were approved, I spent the next three months digitally painting these massive murals on my 15" computer screen, for a grand total area of 205 ft once printed.
To create the Immersion pieces, I used Adobe Photoshop to paint all three murals from scratch with the help of my Wacom tablet & pen, which I use as you would a normal paintbrush to place strokes on the digital canvas. 15 inches by 15 inches, I slowly created some of The Florida Aquarium's most iconic sea creatures inspired by our residents like Missy the Sandtiger Shark and Flip the Green Sea Turtle!
A Staghorn Coral being grown at The Florida Aquarium, Handled under permits.
I worked closely with aquarium biologists and educators and conducted my own research into Florida marine ecology specifically for this project so I could share a true to life, realistic Florida Keys coral reef filled with native marine life like the elegant Angelfish, illusionary Sheephead and vivid Neon Gobies.
Once the murals were completed, I shared the final artwork files with the Event Network team, who worked diligently to make sure the artwork was printed and displayed on a level of quality beyond anything I have ever seen before. This entire project was a massive undertaking for all parties involved, and it wouldn't have been a success without every person on board, all of whom cared passionately about communicating a feeling of immersion to our guests.
"Immersion " 3'x6' Digital Artwork by Kelly Quinn
I want to give a huge thank you to Event Network and The Florida Aquarium for this opportunity to create artwork that immerses people in the beautiful watery world that inspired my own passion for conservation.
I love seeing a Childs face light up with excitement and awe when they look up to see a shark overhead or a sea turtle kindly looking at them, it's a constant reminder that we must always inspire the next generation to care for this beautiful world.
See it for yourself
If you want to experience the "Immersion" murals for yourself, please plan a visit to The Florida Aquarium and take a stroll through the sea in our gift shop! You can learn more about the awesome projects Event Network undertakes at https://www.eventnetwork.com/
Final Installed artwork in Store at The Florida Aquarium
If you have any inquiries about the murals, are interested in collaborating on a mural project or commissioning original artwork, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org ! :)