World’s largest ‘vinyl’ painting | Arts & Culture

World’s largest ‘vinyl’ painting

World’s largest ‘vinyl’ painting

Student in front of the new wall mural on the corner of Williams and Maynard, AA.

For an artist, scale matters. The size of a painter’s canvas can be as small as a postage stamp or as big as the wall of a room. But A&D professor Jim Cogswell’s recent work for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital may be the first time that a painter has been asked to use an 8-story window façade as a canvas. (Photo left: Jim Cogswell and Melanie Manos)


The idea to ask Jim to create a site-specific work on the windows of the new hospital came from Melanie Manos (MFA ’09). Along with her boss, Kathy Ballew, Melanie was in charge of curating a $1.6 million museum-quality art collection for the hospital.

Melanie had seen Cogswell’s experiments with window vinyl at the WORK • Detroit gallery and wondered what it would look like on a massive scale at Mott.

The collection would feature artists with a Michigan connection of some kind. About 19 A&D alumni and faculty have work in the new space. (PHOTO RIGHT: Michele Oka Doner, a Michigan alum, was commissioned to create a bronze fossil terrazzo floor installation in the two-story sky-lit main lobby.)

Cogswell, along with Larry Cressman and Michele Oka Doner, were among the artists who were asked to create site-specific installations for the hospital. Check out a slideshow of some of the work here.

Jim’s assignment was perhaps the most complex of all the installation projects. It took over two years to plan and execute, required $150,000 worth of vinyl, covers 11,000 square feet of glass, and took 6 months just to install.

Now that this mammoth task is completed, Jim is prepared to reveal the story behind ‘the making of.’ He describes the process as a series of artistic challenges. Some challenges came with the assignment itself but, since Jim enjoys complexity, some were self-imposed.

Click on link to watch a video interview with JIM COGSWELL