So, Squarespace, the awesome DIY website builder commissioned me to create an interactive exhibit during the Newport Folk Festival this year. Their events coordinator, the tireless Jessica Kausen and her Squarespace team + my assistants in New York and Newport (Nicole, Amy, Colin and Brett along with Kerri Yonkman and about 20 other talented folks) have been toiling away here in the most beautiful setting; Newport, Rhode Island. The festival founded by the late, great Pete Seeger, is in its 55 year now. My mural, All Over This Land, in the specially created Squarespace Studios (which is photographer Giles Clement and myself…more on Giles in another post) is inside the 200 hundred+ year-old Fort Adams.
My mural was painted by over a five hundred people from all over this land over the course of three days. (Brett wrote down where everyone was from!) Inside, there’s an exhibit of work I created just for this event, of Abstract Lighthouse and Abstract Sailboats on canvas, inspired by 60s color by number books and the area. There are chalkboards silkscreened with the lighthouse for people to temporarily alter and the same images on paper to be colored at will. We made an oversized postcard of the image and when guests address it, a lighthouse stamp was affixed and mail it for them. Everyone got a really great All Over This Land tote bag too. The whole thing was REALLY popular, needless to say. People really LOVED it. Plus, while all of this is happening, great music has been playing. Ryan Adams, Jeff Tweedy, Conor Oberst, Lucius, Trampled By Turtles, Puss N Boots… and the amazing Mavis Staples. (More on the music in another post…)
I’m putting in a plug here for Squarespace (even though they initially said they didn’t want me to.) I’ve used them for the last two years for my site, and it is a FANTASTIC way to get a beautiful site. If someone makes a great product for a good deal (like Everlane, Warby Parker, Harry’s or even Apple, I tell people about it.) I’ve recommended it to a ton of people, but I have to be honest, I kinda slowed down doing that, with the thought, “if everyone has a great website” mine won’t look so special.” So, on second thought, DON’T check out my website, and DON’T use Squarespace.