Painting is my life. Murals are my favorite way to paint. It was the ultimate experience to be invited by Alex & Allyson to start the Mushroom Cafe mural project during my month-long artist retreat at CoSM in July, 2012.
The Grey’s generously encouraged me to paint whatever mushroom-themed image I desired, and as much of one wall as I could cover during my stay and shared an abundant collection of mushroom books to inspire me.
As I painted, I realized the name of my mural: “The Royal Court of the Mushroom Kingdom.” I chose exemplary fungi specimens with importance to humans in the categories of gourmet, medicinal, and psychoactive.
The bottom of the left corner showcases the delicious Chicken of the Woods and Morel mushrooms. The right side displays the magical, mysterious Amanita Muscaria & Golden Teachers. The top of the tree-columns are crowned by Reishi & Chaga, which are considered by the master herbalists of the ages to be the King and Queen of the Mushroom Kingdom.
My retreat came to an end before I could get the mural to completion. Luckily, art heroes swooped in to sparkle it up until my return. Amanda Sage, Randal Roberts, Martin Bridge, Michael Divine, Alex Grey and Allyson Grey all added their masterful touches to that first wall. Who knew the Cafe would become the largest-running Visionary Art collaboration in the world?
It was a very special month of my life, one that inspired me to attend to affairs at home in Arizona, find an apartment in Brooklyn and a job in Manhattan and begin volunteering at CoSM when I could. I lived and worked as a CoSM staff member for four years and have continued to refine the mural, adding faeries and atmosphere for a richly activated, organic appearance.