“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” This Carl Sagan quote inspired Miki Garcia, executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara, while she planned out the next mural to be featured on the Satellite, a large wall on the side of Hotel Indigo that features annually rotating exhibits. She contacted world renown contemporary artist Rafael Vargas-Suarez, whose art has been featured in museums on the East Coast, as well as in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Vargas-Suarez gets his inspiration from using technology to study nature, so his artistic mind complemented Garcia’s idea of vastness beautifully. Garcia and MCA then contacted Youth Interactive, where the young artists have had past experience with large murals and street art. Four young artists were honored to meet with Vargas-Suarez and partner up to create this massive piece. “It’s about how stars move throughout the galaxy over time,” said Vargas-Suarez. “I knew it had to be large. As you move down State Street, perspective shifts so the shape shifts.”
Two weeks later, on January 25th 2014, Santa Barbara art lovers gathered along with Mayor Helene Schneider to reveal the incredible mural. “This piece shows expansion and contraction all at once. What a great entry towards State Street. We’re going to have hundreds of thousands of people look at it and take their own viewpoint over the next year,” said Schneider. The Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit even provided high powered telescopes to let the public gaze into space and see Jupiter and the other cosmos represented by the exhibit. The Youth Interactive artists were proud to see their work displayed to the public and were grateful for the opportunity to work with Vargas-Suarez. “He was rad. He taught us a lot. A very humble dude.” Vargas-Suarez also found the experience to be mutually beneficial. “It was my idea, but it was all of our collaboration.”
The painting will remain on State Street all year, facing the ocean and welcoming everyone into Santa Barbara.
Hotel Indigo121 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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