Behind The Process: How IPaintMyMind Led A Custom Mural Project for PepsiCo

Behind The Process: How IPaintMyMind Led A Custom Mural Project for PepsiCo

Written by:
Evan La Ruffa
Feb 26, 2021

All photos and video copyright of IPaintMyMind

When PepsiCo in New York reached out to us about creating a custom mural for the new Pepsi offices in The Historic Old Post Office Building that straddles the Eisenhower Expressway, we were thrilled to get a project that was so perfectly suited for our Get Art, Give Back model.

There are growing numbers of great companies providing custom mural services, but at IPaintMyMind, every mural we help execute also funds FREE art programs in public schools.

It’s a really awesome mix of art and community involvement! And over the years, it’s been great to connect with companies like adidas, DocuSign, Capital One, LinkedIn, and more, to do exactly that.

That said, we thought it would be great to give a glimpse behind the process of executing a massive project like this with various stakeholders and various creative components. It was a lot of fun, and ahead, we dive right in!

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Luckily, Clients Find Us Based On Fit

Over the years we’ve taken pride in developing great relationships with the artists, businesses, and schools we work with. Word of mouth has been our best friend, but our website also does a good job of attracting companies that are interested in art, innovation, and being part of their community.

Our art rentals, murals, and consulting projects have become known as differentiated from the more bland, stodgy, or generic art you can find with most art consultants. We stay busy publishing content like this to ensure companies that want to Get Art and Give Back can find us and learn about how we turn art into impact.

In this case, PepsiCo reached out to the IPaintMyMind Team via our Commission A Mural page and we were off to the races! I had such a fun time connecting with Roe and getting to know her over the course of multiple months coordinating this project.

But before we got to work, we had to nail down the theme.

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The Theme for The Mural

I was excited to chat with the PepsiCo Team about the concept they envisioned because it was the perfect vibe for IPMM. The theme was ‘Chicago’s Multicultural Identity’ and the goal was to depict Chicago’s broad cultural history through people and landmarks. Immediately a scene of the lakefront, the ‘L” train and other iconic Chicago sights came to mind.

The mural was to be located on an 11ft x 54ft wall located between the open kitchen area and the incredible Gatorade buildout on the other side in the new PepsiCo offices on the 3rd floor of The Old Post Office Building, as part of a massive renovation and build out of the space, slated to open later this year.

The PepsiCo Team made it clear they were open to a mural made by a few artists, which immediately got our wheels turning about not only an aesthetic but an energetic fit that would produce something we could all be proud of.

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Selecting The Artists

Once we had the creative brief from PepsiCo, we turned to our vast network of artists and muralists to propose options for PepsiCo to choose from. Mostly composed of Chicago-based artists, we ended up selecting Ruben Aguirre and Sam Kirk, whose styles are different but complementary, and a perfect blend for this mural.

IPaintMyMind has been lucky to work with both artists in various ways over the years. Sam Kirk first collaborated with IPMM when we had a gallery space, by holding a solo show including some massive original paintings. Since then, we’ve worked on print projects, t-shirt releases, and Sam even spent the last year plus serving on IPMM’s Board of Directors. As she works on various big projects in 2021, she is now serving as an Impact Advisor for IPMM, and it was exciting for us to bring Sam onto this project.

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We also thought of our friend Ruben Aguirre, supporter and collaborator, who executed the massive 65ft exterior mural behind adidas’ flagship store in Wicker Park. It’s clearly visible from the Blue Line with millions of riders seeing the work every week.

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Once we had the artists in place, we were ready to flesh out the vision.

 

Working With PepsiCo’s Employee Resource Groups

‘After sitting vacant for nearly two decades, the building was bought in 2014 by English real estate developer Bill Davies for $24 million at auction.’ The building was vacant for 19 years before new tenants moved in in 2019. Since then the building has continued to undergo extensive renovations, including PepsiCo moving into the building from their old offices a few blocks away.

Moving into the new space and embracing the social moment we are living in, PepsiCo did lots of internal work to collect feedback from their Employee Resource Groups, which serve as points of connection and perspective for different people and communities represented in the PepsiCo employee body.

Each group was given questions by us at IPaintMyMind to help understand the symbols, people, ideas, places, values, and images that felt representative of the groups we were looking to depict as part of the mural.

After a long process ensuring that the feedback was captured while still respecting and yielding to the artist’s creative vision, the design was finalized and we were ready to make it real.

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Making It Happen

After the design was finalized and the artist’s vision had come together, we were all so excited to see it come to life. Ruben’s awesome graffiti inspired abstractions served as a cool backdrop to the figurative depictions of Chicago and it’s people rendered through Sam Kirk’s beautiful, organic, and inimitable style. Based on this interaction in the work, it made sense to have Ruben begin, taking 3 days to get the background dialed in, creating the trees, sky, and urban jungle that is our city.

After a brief overlap in work on Day 4, so that Sam and Ruben could ensure everything lined up, Sam and her Provoke Culture team got to work putting the stencil on the wall, marking it with chalk, then beginning some of the line work to start blocking out each color, shape and character. Sam’s team had an entire color matrix, paint colors assigned numbers, with everyone on her team in lockstep.

Seeing the design file created in Procreate is one thing, but seeing it slowly evolve into shape over 8 days was truly amazing. Artists are magic!

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Cataloguing The Creation 

Throughout the 8-day mural creation process, myself and our Lead Photographer, Abel Arciniega of Tequila Photo & Design, as well as Dre from Luv City Media captured timelapses, photo, and video, ensuring we could show you every step of the process!

We set up cameras in 5+ locations to capture timelapses that showed not only the entire wall, but the intricate delta being executed by each one of the artists.

Seeing the artists do what they do is the coolest thing ever, and being able to share that with PepsiCo, the artiss, and our fans really helps illustrate the magnitude of a project like this.

IPaintMyMind would like to thank PepsiCo, Ruben Aguirre, Sam Kirk, the Provoke Culture crew, the PepsiCo Team, and the entire security staff at The Old Post Office Building that treated us so nicely while on-site!

If you’re interested in commissioning a mural for your company’s new office, we’d be happy to help! Whether an office relocation, office renovation, or a partial redesign, companies are thinking of real estate and space in new ways, and art can be an incredible way to approach that.

the benefits of workspace wall murals

Written by:
Evan La Ruffa
Feb 26, 2021

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