About Doing the Wizards Project

(Click on pictures to enlarge them.)

This the artwork for the interior of the Wizards Casino in Burien, Washington. There are three parts to it: the murals, the sky on the ceiling, and the 3-D wizard’s study. All three parts were fabulously fun to do.

We painted the murals in Linda’s studio, with Linda focusing on the rich backgrounds, and me doing the figurative painting.

The sky was painted into the ten-foot by ten-foot ceiling alcoves, which were lit with black light. The entire sky was mapped out, with the Milky Way running diagonally across the room. Linda painted the texture into the sky, all the while fending off “side-walk supervisors” who didn’t understand that there were stages to the process. Finally, to save Linda's sanity, we worked around the clock over the New Year's holiday when no one else was around, and got enough of the sky completed that the second-guessing stopped.

We got the smaller stars and the glow of the Milky Way by flinging drips of white paint onto the ceiling. Of course, the paint got all over us as well.

While the sky and murals took a fair amount of time to do, the most creatively challenging was the life-sized wizard himself, sitting in his study, which architect Aimee Rush and I put together.

For the wizard’s head, we started with a rubber Halloween mask, which we stiffened with latex and decked with glass eyes. The glorious robe and hat we made him covered most of the body, but the hands had to be fabricated from scratch, and had to look real.

We corralled my ex-husband Eric, whose hands look satisfactorily wizard-like, and made him submit to having plaster casts made of both his hands—which we did, with difficulty, get off him in the desired two half-shells each.

Then we pieced the molds together, set wire-and-pipe armatures inside them, and poured them full of gooey latex—which found holes in the forms and leaked out all over the place.

Then we fabricated the wizard’s body from wood and pipe and chicken-wire, padded it, soldered on the hands at the elbow joints, dressed him, and put Converse “All-Stars” tennis shoes on his feet (see them in the picture on the right.)

Concurrently we constructed a wizardly table (complete with glowing crystal ball) and chair out of plywood and fabric. We painted occult symbology on the table-cloth.

And then we constructed the wizard’s study. Linda and I painted faux-stone on the walls during one long all-nighter (to avoid alarming the management as we painted the background all colors of the rainbow (see top left picture).

While we were working on the walls, Aimee was creating the potions—eye of newt, butterfly wings, etc., and as she was installing them, with a straight face she fielded questions from investors who were watching, about the magical contents of each of her bottles and beakers.

We installed the half-cauldron in the painted fireplace, backlit with a “fire” of rotating red-glowing lights, added books, candles, and a crystal-tipped wizard’s staff—and finished up with a fairly respectable-looking wiz.

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