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NYC Artist Judith Braun Creates a Chrysler Museum Mural with Help from ODU Students

  • Judith Braun works on the mural while an ODU student Larissa Boose Williams documents the progress with her camera. (All photos credit Anne Peterson)
  • ODU students prepare the "Diamond Dust" exhibition title wall.
  • Judith Braun sometimes uses all 10 fingers at once in her creations.
  • ODU student was part of the team that helped to transfer the artist's basic sketch to the wall.
  • ODU art students Heather Prestage (from left), Oktawian Otlewski, Bianca Rawlings and Rachel Gaus were among the "Diamond Dust" helpers.
  • Elyse Lovelace (left) and Larissa Boose Williams (second from right) and Rali Manouk were among the ODU students helping artist Judith Braun.

New York-based artist Judith Braun said she wanted to recruit two or three Old Dominion University fine arts students to help her create the 48-foot-long mural, "Diamond Dust," that is now complete and open for viewing at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk.

"But 13 came on board," she told a knot of observers who were watching her draw the mural in mid-February. "They were all like, 'Choose me!' I couldn't just pick one or two."

So what did the 13 do to help?

Some acted as personal assistants to the 64-year-old artist, whose work has been shown in galleries internationally and who is probably best known to the public as one of the contestants on the 2010 season of Bravo network's "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist." Other ODU students took photographs to document the creation of the charcoal (hence the "Diamond Dust" title) artwork, some meticulously hung carbon paper and tracing paper for the transfer to the wall of the artist's basic sketch, and still others executed the glittery "Diamond Dust" marquee on a wall adjacent to the mural.

"Each and every student fulfilled their roles eagerly, efficiently and creatively," Braun said when the job was done. "I couldn't have done it without them, and I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much without their enthusiastic cooperation."

For the glitter graphic on the exhibition title wall, she said, several students "used their eyes and hands and personal judgment to create an effect I had envisioned and described to them, and then they executed (it) on their own."

Students participating were Stephanie Eley, Rachel Gaus, Abigail Johnson, Karl Jones, Karine Lombardo, Nicole Marlowe, Oktawian Otlewski, Holly Pim, Larissa Williams, Rali Manouk, Heather Prestage, Bianca Rawlings, and Elyse Lovelace.

Braun's work, which is highly stylized finger painting, will be on display at the Chrysler through the summer. This was the largest mural project she has tackled, the first to be painted in a setting where the public could watch her work and her first non-abstract mural. She said the landscape scene was inspired by the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

This article was posted on: February 21, 2012

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