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Football, Color Theory Collide in Mural

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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The new stadium that hosts home games for the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings is also the site of some massive mural art, thanks to two local artists and a team of student interns from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

US Bank Stadium mural
Minneapolis College of Art and Design

U.S. Bank Stadium's main concourse includes The Golden Pass, an abstract mural based on the football shape and the “golden ratio.”

U.S. Bank Stadium was completed in June and hosted its first football game in September; at the north end of its main concourse, the venue features The Golden Pass, an abstract mural based on the football shape and the “golden ratio.” Being situated in Minneapolis, it also, of course, features plenty of purple.

The Artists

The mural began when representatives from the Vikings and Sports and the Arts, a company that helps bring art to sports venues, reached out to MCAD as part of their search for muralists. Ed Charbonneau, an associate professor at the school, headed up the project alongside Jeremy Szopinski; the two have worked together painting murals since 1999, and have shared an art studio since 1996.

Charbonneau and Szopinski worked with six student interns—Hannah Farrell, Elisa Gomez, Jonathan Hererra, Celia Olson, Aimee Strzok and Suyao Tian—on the mural, in which football shapes are arranged in “golden spirals,” echoing a “spiral pass” and so much more.

Artists painting mural

The mural was created by two local artists working with a team of student interns.

“These logarithmic spirals and expansion of scale follow the ‘Golden Ratio,’ or a ratio of 1:1.62,” a plaque accompanying the piece explains. “This ratio, thought to represent perfection and harmony, can be found throughout the natural world in forms such as the spiral of a nautilus shell and the arrangement of seeds within the head of a sunflower.”

Hometown Paints

The 125-foot-long, 17-foot-high mural was painted by the team between June 20 and July 8, 2016, as the newly built stadium was being prepared for its inaugural season. Minneapolis-based paint manufacturer Valspar contributed paints for the project, including all-purpose primer and sealer as a primer base on the drywall, and acrylic latex paints from the company’s Reserve and Optimus lines, Charbonneau explains.

In addition to pre-ordered colors of paint, the company supplied tints and colorants so the team of artists could mix other colors as they worked.

Student painting mural

“The MCAD student interns were not mere helpers on the project; they were fully committed and took a great deal of ownership with the work," explains artist Ed Charbonneau.

"We're painting these football forms to read so they're translucent, so when they overlap they change color—hue, value, chroma,” Charbonneau said when the project was underway. “This is a massive color theory project."

The artists used 2-inch brushes for the entire project, to help create a textured appearance.

Student Participation

Charbonneau says the student interns took on a major role in the creation of the work.

“For our mural work, Jeremy and I work as true collaborators, with neither of us taking the lead, but rather sharing in every decision,” he explains. “The MCAD student interns were not mere helpers on the project; they were fully committed and took a great deal of ownership with the work, and their skills were integral to the success of the finished mural.”

In addition to The Golden Pass, U.S. Bank Stadium features a second mural, The Vikings Are Coming!, painted in a comic-book style by Greg Gossel. That mural is situated on the south end of the main concourse.

Charbonneau says both murals are permanent fixtures at the stadium, meant to endure many seasons of Vikings football (and chilly weather).


Tagged categories: Artists; Color + Design; Decorative painting; Murals; North America; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Valspar

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