“Under the Sea” took on a new meaning for students of Swan River Montessori school Friday, Oct. 25 at the Monticello Community Center.
The students were on hand with a front-seat view to the unveiling of Monticello’s latest mural- a seascape by the artist Limpio.
Limpio is also the artist who painted the mural of the heron on the north wall of Live, Laugh & Bloom, at 108 Cedar Street in Monticello.
Commissioned for the project through a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board, Limpio said he was inspired for the mural at the west entrance to the community center by the adjacent community pool and the importance of water.
The mural is painted on the north and south walls of a corridor leading into the community center. The ceiling is incorporated into the mural, as well, in order to create a sense that one is in the ocean, or “under the sea.”
The north side of the mural, along the community center gymnasium, depicts a celebration of ocean life.
“It showcases the colors of the ocean,” Limpio said.
The mural then leads over the ceiling to the south wall that is adjacent to the community pool.
“It depicts the bleaching of coral and what happens in the ocean when the water gets warmer,” Limpio told the students.
“The coral dies and turns white and what you see is its skeleton,” he said.
The south mural is a reminder of the effects of climate change on a global scale, Limpio said.
That’s something the Swan River students are familiar with, being an environmental-based school.
The community center mural was the first for Limpio using a technique new to him.
Limpio usually uses a “street-artist” style of painting that utilizes spray painting. When it came to the community center mural, Limpio used a base of latex paint that he generally uses for portraits. For the first time, he combined latex painting with his go-to style of spray painting for this mural. He then used paint markers on the black outlines on the fish, plants, and mammals featured in his mural.
Limio says he wasn’t always going to paint an underwater scene in the community center hallway.
He initially thought he would continue with a animal and rain forest theme already painted in the community pool.
“I thought a lot about the other rain forest animals and what is going on in the world,” Limpio said.
“But I thought painting what we find underwater would be more cool and painting the walls like they are underwater,” he said.
After a discussion of the art project, Limio took questions from the students, which led to a discussion of his painting techniques, history of pet ownership, and Limio’s own history of painting.
He noted that he began enjoying art at about the same age as the students gathered in the community center hallway.
Reach Jeff Hage at firstname.lastname@example.org