THE OSLO JOB – PT. III/III

Stencils

First of all, let me just say that we pulled this one off. There were so many factors in play during this job and time was probably the one at the top. We didn’t really know anything but the sizes off the walls in the restaurant / bar we were hired to paint. Will the establishment be shut down during the paint job? Will there be enough room to cut our stencils? Will our projected stencils work? Do we have time to fix any stencils that are off? Is there time?

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The answer is, there is never enough time, no matter what you do if you’re doing what you love. We began driving up to Norway in a snowstorm early in the morning and arrived in the afternoon. It turned out that Nydalen Bryggeri & Spiseri was expanding and opening up another floor with a dedicated game / hangout /barsection, and this was the area we were painting. What we didn’t know was that we would be sharing it with a crew of carpenters. The electricians would come on Monday, and so would the lights. We were stuck with two portable construction-lights over the weekend. But something is better than nothing right? We dove right in. We cut the stencils lying down on the floor with workers buzzing around us.

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Before we went to bed around 1 am on day one, we had already finished the first wall. It was hard, since we spent half the day in a car focusing on the snowy road, but it was a massive psychological win, and we needed an estimate on how fast we could get a wall done.

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Since living costs are really high in Norway, we planned on eating “real food” once a day at the hotel breakfast (included with our stay). We stuck with the plan and survived on rye-bread, spreadable cheese and protein-puddings which we brought with us from Sweden. Our work nourished us. That, and perhaps a glass of wine or two before bed.

 

We spent three nights in Oslo and didn’t really see anything but floor, walls, ass-cracks and breakfast. In our short stay we worked a total of 43 hours each, and managed to clean up and pack just after midnight on Sunday evening. The sleep we had was dreamless. Mind non-existent. We were dead as doornails before we even hit the pillow each night. Every six hours we would brush our teeth and pretend we were getting ready for a normal days work, to trick the mind that we hadn’t already just worked for six or twelve hours a minute ago.

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Since I snore once in a blue moon, we turned our single room into a double, using the toilet.

And finally, when the last wall was done, it was worth every single second. A few days after coming home we got the feedback; both client and designer are pleased, everything a-ok. Total win. Below are the walls from our final evening in Nydalen.

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Curious about how we prepared for this job? Here are parts I and II of the Oslo job.

Photos by Therese Jarmo.

 

THE OSLO JOB – PT. II/III

Illustration, Photoshop, Projectionmapping, Stencils

I’ve spent the past three Saturdays with my sister tracing the stencils for our upcoming paint job in Oslo. As I mentioned in part one, printing these stencils would eat up our entire budget. So we projected them onto paper and traced the designs with permanent markers. We’ve never tried this technique before but we instantly fell in love with it. The upside of tracing stencils instead of printing them, is that can’t avoid mentally cutting, layering and painting them as you go. I guess you could say that this is the ultimate way of priming yourself for a big session when working with stencils.

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We’ve known the wall-sizes for a couple of weeks, but it’s not until you actually see the size of the paper you’re tracing your image onto, that you realize how big these stencils actually are. We’ve never painted stencils this big and seeing the designs right in front of you is quite a breathtaking (and sinking) feeling, partly because you know in the back of your head that each layer must align with the other. It’s easy to get lost in the image because you’re up close a lot with the markers. The resolution wasn’t that great at times so some details got a bit blurry. Smartphone with the design equals handy helper.

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One of our designs pictures three workers protesting in a bar. The thought is to convey ideas of unity between workers (and people), and that you can take pride in working hard (but being off having a beer is better). We wanted signs so that we could create actual signs out of cardboard and glue them to the wall. This to make the design pop a bit, and frankly, it’s always more fun to work with different materials and textures when creating art. We used three different fonts to sell the idea that the people in the design actually made their own signs. We had a fun time sinking into the minds of the different characters. The Nick Cave-looking drunk who just showed up for the beer, the woman who wasn’t to bothered with her A’s, and the proud butcher who took the time masking his frame the proper way, with tape, putting all his effort into writing the word NO.

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“Damn it Martha! All they need to see is the word NO! That says it all! The rest is just jibber-jabber. I’m not a signmaker I’m a butcher! I always write my prices large when I advertise my meat. At least I used tape when masking out my frame, not like the other two amateurs next to me who just slapped some paint on around the edges.”

The butcher to his wife (in our heads).

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Since we’re painting in Norway, this dumb “Save the (wh)ales!” joke really brings it home.

All our stencils are rolled up, the paint is on its way and we’re mentally prepared to work long hours, go nuts and just have fun. So far we’re confident it will all work out fine. Let’s hope we’re right. Otherwise we’ll ruin four walls in a bar in Oslo and come home broke.

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