This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of Heliopolis Magazine.
With almost 45,000 meticulously hand-drawn lines, local Artist Tony Reans has just completed his largest piece of Fine Art: Community Lines, a gift to the downtown community.
It’s been a labor of love. Over 4 months and 400 volunteer hours, Reans spent his evenings, weekends, and days off turning a wall in the public lobby of the Fairmont Tower Apartments into a mural using only colored pencils, a level, and a ladder.
The mural is comprised of 644 squares, all 5″ x 5″, with 50 and 70 lines per square, and four colors: orange, Spanish orange, violet, and light aqua.
“The energy of the lines is calming and welcoming, and is meant to feel like an immediate old friend for the residents of the Fairmont, like someone you’ve only just met, with whom you have an instant connection,” said Reans.
For an abstract work, the large mural is playful: from a distance, one views a serene, balanced pattern. Up close, a viewer can appreciate the multitude of sketched bright colors. The piece is accessible for any viewer, while also containing artistic symbolism.
“It’s all about creating a solid foundation and experimenting with energy and tension,” wrote Reans.
He says the straightforward grid of squares speaks the universal language of rock-solid foundations. The geometric pattern is meant to feel balanced and stable, especially integrated into the unmoving wall itself.
However, within this strong foundation, he could play around with soft or bold colors, and dynamic energy versus stillness, while the overall composition remains intact. In the end, his delicate lines yield a sensitivity that is welcoming and peaceful.
He wants viewers to feel a sense of permanence, of certainty, and of belonging – just how a community should feel.
Reans was inspired by the late American artist Solomon Sol LeWitt (September 9, 1928 – April 8, 2007), who is considered a founder of Conceptual Art and Minimalism.
While Reans is known for a similar geometric square series with acrylic paint on small wooden tiles, LeWitt’s work inspired him to create directly on a wall and to draw, rather than paint.
“I tended to think of [drawing] as illustration, says Reans about this development. “Now I’ve loosened up that thinking and can see drawing as more than ‘just’ illustration.”
Finally, Reans expressed his gratitude for everyone involved with the project, from volunteers to residents to those who collect his artwork and who encourage him.
“I’m honored and thrilled that folks seem to like it. The residents and management of the Fairmont have been very supportive, curious, and engaged. They’re very kind and generous with their compliments, and I appreciate it more than I can say,” wrote Reans.
Stop by the lobby of the Fairmont at 726 Cotton Street to view Community Lines.