We had the honor of documenting artist Jade Warrick as she worked on her "Gems of Troy" designs at the Collar City Bridge as part of The Uniting Line project. Here we talk with Jade about this project, reaction from the community, and what's she's most proud of. Hear more from Jade on AHA! A House for Arts airing February 16, 2022 at 7:30pm and in our upcoming documentary Bridging the Divide coming February 17, 2022 at 7:30pm.
Q How does it make you feel to see your finished work under the Collar City Bridge?
A I feel proud that I've been able to accomplish such a huge artistic goal. Every artist wants a project that can reflect their years of work and dedication to their craft. So I am very proud.
Q Is there a design you are particularly proud of in the project?
A I really love the two fighters. I love boxing and have a guilty pleasure for MMA. And they were my favorite to draw! I had such a fun time drawing their anatomy due to their muscles. I had to figure out how to soften them yet seem powerful. Powerful yet soft is always my goal with a lot of my pieces because that's me!
Q You’ve been getting a lot of great reactions and feedback about the murals. Can you give a couple examples of times you’ve really been touched by people’s comments about Gems of Troy/Uniting Line?
A I love the fact that people truly see themselves in the art. They look at the characters created and see themselves within them. That was always a goal. To give life to these 2D figures. So many folks have put their own stories and voice into each individual character, and to me that's a beautiful accomplishment. It also brings me joy that folks love the colors.
Q What were some of the challenges you worried about going into the Uniting Line mural project?
A Not having true control over my designs and lack of communication so the integrity of my work is reflected and kept. I was very concerned that my voice would be overshadowed as there were multiple hands in the pot.
Q How did things work out with those challenges as you worked on the murals?
A Some of my fears did come true and there were plenty of challenges around communication, as with any large scale project, and making sure my designs were being accurately portrayed. But I would say it's close to 100% to what I created originally. It's very challenging not being the main artist to your own piece, as I am very particular. And a project like this relies on trust and communication. I think the artist and muralists did an amazing job with the tools and environment they were given.
Q It’s only been a little over a month since the project’s completion but have you noticed a difference in how the community around the bridge interacts? Do you think the murals will, indeed, help with unifying the city’s north and south areas?
A I think it is too soon to tell how the affects of the mural has touched the community. Right now this is only a bandage. There is so much that needs to be done to that section of Hoosick, including accessible seating, greenery, and more lighting to make people feel safe (etc). I still feel like we have a lot to do and a few murals will not answer the problems the neighborhood faces. I do feel like since the murals and art work is reflective of the community's voice, there is a sense of ownership. There is pride. There is hope. But we are not 100% there yet. Soon to come.
Q What is next for you? What projects are you working on/hoping to work on?
A I just completed a mural at Honest Weight co-op! My goals are to do more personal projects and create more for me! I also hope to do more indoor murals that give me free range to create without limits. I will also be focusing a lot of 2022 on building my youth art program Amplified Voices NY. Also rest. I hope to work on resting.