It's amazing what can happen when you follow your passion and do something you love. When I started Haley by the Sea it was a way for me to grow my artistic skills and share my love for the beach and Long Island. It's been the creative outlet I can count on whether it be painting, photography, or graphic art. Little did I know that it would establish me as an artistic professional amongst my family, friends, and neighbors.
Luckily my neighbor, Tony Cardali is part of that group and thought of me when he heard the pool murals needed some refreshing. Tony has watched me grow up since the day my family brought me home from Good Sam, so when trustee, Tony Davida spread the word of his goal for the summer, Tony C. told him about me and Haley by the Sea. Tony Davida called me while my family and I were on the way to my uncle's wake, a time where it felt like there wasn't much hope for the summer ahead.
I started work at the BVP at the start of July with 5 cans of paint: black, white, red, yellow, and blue. I painted the beluga wall during swim lessons and received a lot of questions from younger siblings, as well as whispers amongst parents and grandparents. Everyone was excited for the restoration of the pool's historic sea animals. I enjoyed letting some of the kids help me paint in hopes I could inspire them to be creative in a day and age where screen time seems to be the norm. I wrapped up the sea animals by the end of July and was anxious (both the nervous & excited kind) to get started on my original mural.
The Long Island wall gets directly hit by the sun all day long, so it was very cracked and worn down. We had to do a lot of prep work to make sure I was painting on something that would last a while. I power washed until my arms felt like jello, and the pool staff helped me chisel away until I had a solid enough canvas to work on. I painted the entire 55 foot wall in 2 coats of white paint (6 gallons) in 4 days. Then I enjoyed a week of vacation in Montauk, but after that it was back to work. I started doing the sunset ombre background and finished that up in a week. The original plan for the map was to trace it using a projector, but when a huge rainstorm hit and time started slipping away I decided it would be more efficient to just draw it by hand.
This was incredibly nerve wracking but it felt so rewarding when the map ended up looking accurate and truly made a statement from whichever angle or distance you looked at it from. Throughout the last weeks of summer I added the compass, coordinates, and seagulls. This is when all the pool-goers were truly interested in what I was doing. Everyone was very welcoming of the change and new life my painting brought to the pool atmosphere. I'm so thankful for all of the people I met, and the conversations I had along the way. The opportunity to make my own history in a place that shaped me growing up was so special.
So, if you're reading this and are one of the lovely friends I made this summer I want to thank you for being a part of my experience. This summer ended up being one of the best of my life and genuinely taught me so much. If you're down at the BVP please take pictures with my wall and email them to me! I'd love to feature you on my site or social media accounts! Here's to Long Island, art, and endless summers!