Londonderry Times A cement wall behind the football field at Londonderry High School was transformed into a work of art this week.
For her senior project, Sophia Simard decided to tackle the challenge of painting a mural on a large scale in a public space. Simard decided to enlist the help of fellow artist Matt Dean, an accomplished muralist and Londonderry High School graduate who studied illustration at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Simard said as she used chalk to sketch letters onto her portion of the mural. “Working with Matt was amazing. He taught me how to do something I wouldn’t have been able to do alone.”
Like other murals Dean has completed, including two outdoor murals in Rhode Island and an indoor mural for the Gymnastics Academy of Boston, the Lancers mural took him only one week to complete.
Simard identified a small portion of the wall behind the football field she was inspired to paint herself. When she showed it to Dean, he said he “saw something that needed to be done” and wanted to help SImard paint the entire wall into a grand mural of Lancer knights carrying swords.
The mural also features a detailed female face in the background and is mathematically built out, according to Dean, who used devices in the painting to move the eye around the scene.
Before he started painting, Dean said he used Photoshop to map out a rendering for his mural. Then he used an extended roller to “sketch” his painting on the wall.
“I just love painting. For me, it’s about the act of doing the murals,” he said. “Someone asked me once if I think doing art is a public service. I think it is. I have gotten emails from people saying they were having a bad day, but when they stumbled upon my work they forgot what they were upset about. It’s about opening up people’s imagination.”
Simard and Alicia Fitzmaurice, also a senior, assisted with larger spaces on the mural and completed the last portion of the mural in the space Simard originally proposed painting.
Simard said she hopes to attend an art college next year, perhaps the New Hampshire Institute of Art; Fitzmaurice would like to take some art classes in college as well.
Home Depot of Manchester donated the paint used to complete the mural.