Bruce Marsh

Painting: Images and Thoughts.

RIVERWALL  Photo Mural


I’m in the process of trying to complete a project that began a year ago, and was scheduled for installation last November! It’s a ‘quilt’ of images for an exterior wall, all images being photographs of aspects of the Hillsborough River here in Tampa. The images are all photographs I’ve made, some from over the years, some recently, and some of paintings I’ve done of the river in past years.

The composition was developed with Andrea Mosaic software, which allows composing  many separate images in conformance with an overall image. I used an overall image of some floating lily pads, and then made a great number of test images, with the software, to arrive at the final composition. The notion was that from a distance the image might seem abstract but also vaguely ‘riverlike’ and organic. On close view is has very specific and sharply focused information about aspects of the river. I began with thousands of shots… tight, wide, night, aerial,…urban and wild…photo and paintings…and composed the image. A constant struggle in the composition was balancing the exposure range of each photo in terms of how it functioned in the overall image as well as how it stood up in the close view. Some of the images, on close inspection, tend toward under or over exposure, but their overall value range was also determined by their place in the overall composition…if this makes any sense to you.

There were delays in the site preparation, and then problems with the printed plates! The printing was excellent…amazingly sharp and with very punchy contrast. They were completed and shipped to Tampa in January, and we waited for the site to be ready. When we finally uncrated all the plates…they weigh 180 lbs. each(!), we found that some edges had separated from the 3/8″ aluminum backing plates. We sent them all back to be fixed, and then when they arrived the second time the problem still existed. So…they are now back at the factory. We will have them back in a couple of weeks, and then finally be able to proceed with installation.

I will be SO delighted to finally be able to see the wh0le wall up!! It provides a real cautionary note about working with new or unfamiliar processes! I’ve done major painting projects for years, and a couple of mosaic projects, which have all been delivered on time and without any hitches. But I certainly would like to be able to feel free about proposing projects which involve other technologies…it’s just a case of having to do extreme ‘due diligence’ and research. Complicating the issue is that so many projects have short lead times. It seems they can get a building almost finished and suddenly decide they need some art…in a month…finished. The dream would be to collaborate on projects, from the git go, with all involved. I also realize that this happens if your name is  Irwin, or Serra or Koons…

When this is finished I’ll post some views here, probably in late June or early July.

2 Responses to “Joys of Public Art!”

  1. Jay Hoffman


    How large? Are the photos rendered in a weatherproof medium?
    Will it be on the shady side of the street?

    Do I see a little L. A.? There’s something about the “rise” of the rectangles that puts me in mind of the hills behind West Hollywood, granted the effects of a humongus wet spell.

  2. brucemarsh

    The image is 88″ X 40′, and is assembled from 10 steel plates, with the printed images, each 4′ X 88″.

    The medium is ‘porcelain enamel’, which is mineral pigments fired in a glass matrix. The images are applied from CMYK separations, are full color, and high resolution…300 dpi. They are extremely permanent…essentially being colored glass. They are fragile…someone with a hammer could esily destroy the piece. The wall is under shade structures, but they are for the comfort of viewers.

    No LA here….all images from the Hillsborough River here in Tampa, including the overall composition. Interesting question….I grew up near LA.


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