In February the Brooklyn/New Orleans street artist MOMO arrived in Boston in the midst of Snowpocalypse ‘15, an unrelenting series of snowstorms and freezing temperatures that left Boston under 93” of snow. Undaunted by it all, MOMO completed a massive 250’ x 34’ mural over eighteen nights in the lobby of Boston’s iconic John Hancock Building bringing his signature combination of blending techniques, harmonious colors and universal forms to warm up the austere lobby and its wintery surrounds.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with him on his fourteenth night of painting to talk about his technique, the challenges he faced and that delicate balance of making a public artwork that's accessible yet not silly. The following is an excerpt from that conversation which was published by our friends at Brooklyn Street Art on March 26.
Kate Gilbert: So it’s 20 degrees in Boston tonight and the thermometer is stuck at 20 degrees. The snow isn’t melting, and there’s ice everywhere; it’s permanent. So first of all I want to thank you for bringing this to us. It’s great color and smart design.
MOMO: Cool, I’m glad you like it.
KG: One of the things I wanted to bring back from your conversation with Pedro is this idea of universal shapes and appealing colors. That’s something we don’t usually hear coming out of the mouth of an artist who originally started in the street.
MOMO: Pedro’s first question took me off guard because I hadn’t quite heard that from anyone. He said the murals made him feel good, and why was that. I didn’t quite have an answer ready then but I’ve thought a lot about it since and it reminds me that I have this great love for David Hockney’s swimming pools. A sunny landscape has a certain key of colors and mix of shadows and this variety of things that feels like it’s at the peak spectral combination of all these formal things like shade and value, and it lets us know it’s a sunny landscape.
Continue reading at Brooklyn Street Art.
MOMO’s mural is the first in a three-part series of temporary public projects commissioned by Boston Properties and curated by Pedro Alonzo. It is on view at the John Hancock Tower (200 Clarendon Street, Boston MA 02116) now through May 31, 2015.