Like the physical universe in which we live—immeasurable, mysterious, unfathomable—so too the personal universe each of us inhabits and like the physical realm, we have an innate longing to understand it. In their two-man exhibition, FADED BY THE SUN, Hampton Boyer and John Vitale explore the personal universe, contemplating the intimate relationship between consciousness and reality as well as pondering one’s own existence and the largeness of it.
As a source of inspiration and a vehicle for filtering ideas, Boyer and Vitale turned to National Geographic Magazine. Illustrational in style, Boyer’s compositions hint at imagery found in the magazine, albeit with a bit of humor and a pop-culture twist. His vibrantly hued paintings float on bright yellow walls, evoking the warmth and light of the sun as well as giving nod to the yellow border of the magazine’s iconic cover. For Vitale, the magazine itself becomes medium as well as representation of the ineffable nature of existence as each work’s layered composition emerges from the pages of a single issue of a bound magazine. Vitale notes that there is an element of time in the numbered pages, “individuals dissolving into environments while seeming to play with the ideas of experience and attachment” all the while moving forward in a state of wonderment.
Hampton Boyer is a Hampton Roads based artist whose works have been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions. A self-taught artist, Boyer’s artistic endeavors manifest in illustrational style graphics, vibrant paintings and youthful murals. In 2014, Boyer cofounded 670 Gallery in Hampton, VA where he served as creative director. In addition to his gallery experience, Boyer has instructed graphic design courses at Hampton University as well as working with the Contemporary Arts Network. Since closing 670 Gallery, Boyer’s focus has been his artistic practice as well as honing his curatorial skills with Thank You Gallery in Norfolk, VA.
John Vitale is a Minneapolis, MN based visual artist. His work has been exhibited in New York, Miami, Chicago, Brooklyn, Portland, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Romania, and Scotland. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, Vitale has worked as a published and exhibited photographer, a three dimensional designer directing creative projects for Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, and Stella McCartney as well as received funding from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to publish zines. After briefly curating pop-up events for VA MOCA, Vitale founded the Nobile & Amundsen Gallery in Norfolk, VA which closed in 2015. He is a practicing Vipassana meditator and works as an EMT on an ambulance.
The following is a list of features being contemplated, as shown in the renderings:
Paved pathways connecting the surrounding sidewalks and streets to the existing paved concrete pad to remain in place.
Landscaping within the areas of soil on site: grass or stable groundcover, trees, and shaping of the land (rain gardens, swales, berms, etc.).
Planters: both stationary and mobile. The purpose of these are to extend the greenspace from the south edge deeper onto the site, and to help designate the boundaries of the various activity spaces.
Stage Platform: this is shown with multiple tiers, serving multiple uses including: 1) A platform for performances; 2) amphitheater for watching activity within the Park; 3) a resilient element for play/recreation (can handle wear and tear from skateboarding and other high intensity activities).
Shade Structure: over the stage platform. This will make the platform usable rain or shine. There is a potential for the shade structure to incorporate rigging for lighting, projection screen, speakers, or other performance-related equipment.
Shipping Containers: the two 20’ containers currently at the PLOT can be re-used and modified for new purposes (vending, storage, etc.). A new 40’ container can be added to span above the 20’ containers to provide a surface for graphics and to make a shaded space below. The walls of the containers become surfaces for vertical gardens and graphics (like a neon ‘NEON’ sign!).
Benches: these would be made of solid concrete with reinforced edges for durability. They would accommodate a range of activities including seating, market stalls, and skateboarding.
Playground Area: to include play equipment on an appropriate play surface. The play equipment could be in the form of public art, similar to “Upper Blush”, the sculpture by Matthew Geller that was recently installed on site.
Basketball Area: a resilient hoop, backboard, and pole, with striping painted on the ground. Depending on the location, a fence element might be necessary to help prevent balls from leaving the site and becoming a hazard.
Lighting: the light poles from PLOT I could be re-used and new lighting could be implemented as needed. It will be beneficial to have power at the Stage Platform and also at the Containers.
Painting and Scoring: the concrete surface presents a good opportunity painting or scoring to help emphasize the diagonal paths and/or the division of the site into activity areas. The scoring may help with drainage – to provide a path for water to migrate toward the landscaped areas. During the charrette it was discussed that some game surfaces would be nice on the paving: chess, hopscotch, bocce, etc.
Public Art: the west wall of the adjacent building is a perfect place for a large commissioned mural. Also, places within the park can be dedicated for additional sculptures. Artworks that promote participation, interaction, and play should be favored.
Miscellaneous Park Equipment: Tables and chairs, play equipment, signage, water source for irrigation, etc.
WPA led a well-attended public design charrette to determine the future use of the Cofer Lot in the NEON District at the Hurrah Players’ Copeland Center on September 19th.
The Cofer Lot, at the location of a demolished former auto dealership, is poised to be designated as much-needed open space in the District positioned in a perfect spot on West Olney Road midway between the offerings on Granby Street and the Chrysler Museum.
Some charrette participants suggested a public art space with opportunities for sculpture and performance art. Others desired a tranquil green oasis welcome to all, perhaps with a playground for small children. Voices for the skateboarding community advocated for a safe and welcoming place for sport. The challenge is to accommodate multiple uses in a small footprint, and participants seemed open to discussion and compromise.
TONIGHT: The results of the Charrette and next steps for the site will be presented at this month’s NEON District Committee Meeting, at the Push Comedy Theater in the NEON at 5:30 pm. 763 Granby Street, Norfolk.