Discussing The Backyard Project with Jessica Love of Urbane Design

Since social distancing practices and stay-at-home orders have affected Austin’s public art installations, Jessica Love of Urbane Design is giving local muralists a chance to maintain their craft amidst the pandemic. In July, Love launched The Backyard Project, a private art exhibition in her own backyard. Love plans to hold private viewing parties throughout the year, giving the artists’ work unique exposure to her family, friends, clients and colleagues. We heard from her about her inspiration behind this project and ways to find creative inspiration.

What inspired you to launch the Backyard Project?

As an interior designer, I work with several local artists sourcing art for different clients.  At the onset of COVID, like many, the artists I knew personally were struggling.  I realized that muralists were in the same boat- events were cancelled and so were a lot of their gigs.  My goal was to keep artists employed, relevant and allow a safe space for them to hone in on their craft.  I honestly had no idea how it was all going to work so I contacted my landscape designer, Dorian Lerma with Collectivo Creative and pitched the idea of him building the panels.  At the time, I had no confirmed artists to work on the project.  We built the panels and the artists came one by one.  I offered each artist full creative freedom and the payoff has been brilliant!

Since Austin is known for its thriving art scene, how do you think The Backyard Project will impact the art community?

My goal for the project was to expose the public to other ways in which you can enjoy art.  We all know we can buy a print and frame it or a canvas and simply hang it- but why can’t we also all have art in our backyard?  My hope is that The Backyard Project becomes infectious in Austin and beyond and we start employing artists from our local communities to paint fences, panels, walls, etc…  Post COVID, I see a life of events and parties celebrating each artist.

What do you think creativity means for artists but also anyone, during this time of isolation?

I believe creativity is important for everyone during isolation.  Art is a way for us to let go and explore new ideas and feelings.

Who are few of the artists that have already been secured and what are some aspects that you’re most excited about for this event?

The original panels are now complete by an A list of fine artists and muralists. With so much interest from our local art community there are plans to grow the project and each of the artists are willing to spread the love and paint other fences or custom made panels.  Our artists include: Feebee, Sade Channell, Jasmine Gonzales, Zuzu, Niz, Starla Halfmann, Mike Johnston (Truth), Quincy Wakefield, ER and Matthew Trujillo.

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