Art & Design Professor’s mural provides pop of color to library

Krannert Memorial Library made a new addition to the art on the first floor with a mural and accompanying video animation. The five feet wide and 10 feet high mural “Field of Dreams” and its accompanying animation, “Electric Fields of Flowers,” were created by Assistant Professor of Art & Design Randi Frye. The piece took almost 200 hours to create, according to Frye.

Photo by Zoë Berg
The work “Field of Dreams” was created by Assistant Professor Randi Frye.

The inspiration behind the mural came from Frye’s interest in flora and fauna visuals. She said that the floral visuals helped create a scene with “rich color” and “visual texture.” According to Frye, she took visual cues from items in printmaking mid-century illustration to give depth to the 2D surface of the mural. The animation displayed along with the mural explored Frye’s fascination with the items that she was researching as he was creating the piece.

“The repeating animated gif took longer than I expected—though my procrastination technique of researching bumblebees probably didn’t help, but it was fun and interesting. Actually, the research I did on bumblebees inspired the name of the animation, “Electric Fields of Flowers,”” Frye said.

Frye was referring to the National Geographic article titled “Bees Can Sense the Electric Fields of Flowers.” The article cites information regarding all the components to a bee’s attraction to flowers. Frye said that the information helped bring the mural to life, which is an inherent problem she has encountered as an animator.

“As an animator, I rely on screens to show my work, but as soon as the screen turns off we are left with emptiness on the wall,” Frye said. “In this way, the animation and the mural surrounding the TV tell a more elaborate story—the animation gives life to the still image.”

Department Chair and Professor of Art & Design James Viewegh said that he is pleased to have another addition to UIndy’s permanent art collection, especially one that employs new techniques.

“We are always looking to add unique and interesting art to the permanent collection,” Viewegh said. “That this piece was displayed in the library because of its uniqueness as part of the collection [is notable]. The animation coupled with the mural is something new and creative.”