“JELLY” MEET “OCTO”: YOU’LL LOVE THE ARTIST’S STORY ABOUT HIS MURAL LADIES
There’s a new lady to visit on the Asbury Park boardwalk this summer.
After more than a year of planning, the artist known as Pork Chop has completed his second “lady” mural in the Casino building on the southernmost end of the boardwalk. The 2015 “Jelly Lady,” now holds court over walkers, bicyclers, tourists and locals next to the artist’s 2010 installation “Octo Lady.”
“I wanted to create something that would complement the first mural and tap into the pulse of the boardwalk and city’s energy right now,” said Pork Chop, aka Michael Lavallee. “Jelly Lady is about beauty, diversity, acceptance, independence and excitement. She’s a symbol of the moment we are in and the new energy here.”
Pork Chop began sketching concepts for the new 80 foot-long mural by spending tens of hours scanning hard-copy periodicals and images online, translating and examining various image details with his extraordinary brain to isolate special references.
Initially, he considered a “Sailor Squid” to connect with 2010’s “Octo Lady” but then he found a vintage magazine photo of a young blonde woman and the “Jelly Lady” got fins… err, got wings… err, how about set sail!?
The artist always declines to share a lot of detail about his work, preferring instead for the viewer to create their own story. However, regarding the “Jelly Lady’s” penetrating eyes and sultry form, surrounded by fishing lures he shared a brief teaser.
“She is speaking without speaking,” said Pork Chop. “Jellyfish are independent creatures. The oversized lures are universal and reference everyone’s attraction to things that may or may not work out, that grab us into their world. Some may say she is a siren pulling up someone’s figurative anchor.”
A bicyclist stopped to offer his impressions Friday afternoon. “The lady is hypnotized by the ocean,” he said. “Depending where your mind is at, she’s a different fantasy for adults or kids.”
From the outset, it was important for Pork Chop to pay homage to the Casino building’s legendary early 1900’s beaux-arts architecture by Whitney Warren and Charles Wetmore (designers of Grand Central Station). Allow your imagination to wander and you could almost see a version of the artist’s aquatic ladies dancing with a personified fish, shell or another whimsical sea-inspired architectural detail framing the Casino or Arcade buildings.
“She is beautiful and adds to the reasons Asbury Park is so special,” said Sally Spies of Oceanport, referring to the “Jelly Lady”. “The grace and colors – I can see the ocean on a sunny summer day in her. She fills this huge, echoing space with joy and personality. You can’t help but stop in your tracks and take her in, over and over again. I want to just stand here and talk to her.”
Friday afternoon, as he continued work on the estimated 50 hour-long project the artist was regularly approached by strangers effusively thanking and complimenting him.
“It’s awesome to hear the enchanted feedback,” said Pork Chop. “In this location everyone can see and respond to (the art) in their personal way. In the end, it helps artists everywhere. This is a great program Madison Marquette is doing – to have the foresight to include art in the redevelopment.” KEEP READING: the story behind the waterfront’s public art project….
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