Old photos from Vail Mountain to become part of transportation center public art installation
Denver artist Olive Moya will use wheat pasting technique
A pair of old Vail photos will be seen in a new light as artist Olive Moya is set to use artifacts of the ski mountain’s history to create a mural in the transportation center later this month.
Moya is on contract to create her wall art live and in person April 29 to May 6; her canvas will be “that big gray wall that you see as you’re coming down the stairs in the transportation center,” said Molly Eppard, the town of Vail’s public art director.
You may not see that wall at all as you’re descending the stairs, but Eppard does. She said she’s excited to see Moya fill the gray space.
“(Moya) uses this old technique called wheat pasting to install the imagery,” Eppard said. “We worked alongside the Colorado Snowsports Museum to get a couple of images that we will use for this project.”
Moya said working with the town of Vail’s Art in Public Places board was a delight.
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“They have great taste,” Moya told the Vail Daily. “When they brought me the images, I was extremely excited about all of them, it was really hard to pick.”
Moya said in the still photography of yesteryear, images that would be deleted today have been preserved, and she tries to extol that through her art.
“You get these weird moments that aren’t perfect,” Moya said.
Moya adds color and abstract elements to the old black and white images, “to kind of manipulate how people are seeing the images — what you’re covering up, what you’re focusing on, the flow of how your eye moves through the piece.”
It’s a process she created after years of experimentation — Moya has worked in highly commercial art environments, but caught a break in creating art pure of her own vision when Huckleberry Roasters in Denver noticed her hanging out and sketching, she told Voyage Denver.
“They reached out to me and pretty much gave me full creative freedom,“ to create a large mural on their wall, she said. ”It was the dream I’d had since art school.“
Moya developed a style which will work well amid the nostalgia-focused, classic-ski-town theming efforts of Vail; she describes it as a type of abstracted storytelling.
“It has evolved from illustration, so it still uses bright graphic colors, black lines and movement in a progression — but not in a way that is directly representative,” she told Voyage Denver. “The movement aspect lends itself well to drawing your eye through unique spaces.”
The movement aspect of her piece in Vail will also have a bit of function, she said.
“It will be a kind of wayfinding piece, as well, as you’re walking up or down the stairs it’s kind of leading you in those directions,” Moya said.
Moya said she enjoys creating public art in public places because it allows her to interact with, unsurprisingly, the public.
“I don’t mind if you walk up and say ’you should use more blue’” she said with a laugh. “That’s part of it.”
Moya said the typical “art spaces” — museums and galleries — can be intimidating for people, which is why she loves creating art in public places.
“It’s about community, with public work you’re making something for a space that people feel like they belong, together and in the space,” she said. “It’s going to become part of their identity, a little bit.”
So if you feel like you belong in that space, descending the stairs of the Vail Transportation Center, Moya encourages you to talk to her about her piece — while she’s creating it — if you’re curious about it.
“That ephemeral experience aspect is a big part of why I like making public art,” she said.