Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Hilton please, cabbie!

In September we went to Baltimore to be filmed creating a mural for the new hotel chain by Hilton, called Canopy. Its orange-peel logo required the scouring of downtown shops for matching nail varnish for the job, since we were going to be filmed close-up as we launched ink onto canvas before the lenses. Detail, people!

Kitted out in corresponding (and pre-approved) grey tops and our jeans, and with continuity on board for hair and face, we swung into action after just a week’s notice and having designed the mural itself in the few days before flying. Having fine-tuned it at client HZ Design's New York office a few days before, the mural’s design was still being adjusted as we began marking it out with the help of HZ’s crew members Brenna and Chad and their hastily-sourced projector. Materials had been loaded up onto the worktable earlier in the day from Utrecht Art Supplies - imagine being given a licence to buy ‘whatever you need’! - and the snacks were piled up in our bags.

Work commenced in a blur of tracing and measuring, late into the night, and for the next three days the improvised painting space was home to our 16-hour days as we painted with Liquitex markers and acrylic inks with camera lenses poking into every imaginable part of our space. We quickly got used to repeating what would originally be very spontaneous actions - a sweep of the brush, a flick of the hand - until Bryan and his film crew got the 'right one’.

Another consideration was that the work had to appear to emerge on the board in a certain order, so we couldn’t just head in there with pens where it felt most natural. The work was timed with orange post-its and grew outward and into the corners, the final centrepiece emerging last, watched by a camera crew not quite as exhausted as us as we went into extra time. You want it by 7? Nope, but OK.

As the final oranges and leaves and poppies were added to the bottom we realised how sore our bodies had become with all the step-ladder climbing, lying on the floor, stretching into corners and drum-majorette paintbrush spinning. Not to mention to two and a half mile walk to work and back each day! The camera crew got the last shots and headed away to edit it down into the finished thing.

The film’s a promotional tool for the new chain and you can see it here. Considering the many hours of filming you might be surprised how little of us is actually in there, but that’s advertising for you!

Canopy Hotels commence opening in Spring 2015.

Hilton’s Canopy Website, also showing the film in situ:   

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