It’s an area of Allston-Brighton known for real estate development and increased industrialization. Now, the neighborhood is also home to artist Sophy Tuttle’s enormous “Interconnected” mural, spanning more than 2,000 square feet with its rich earthy tones and imagery of wild, living things — from flora to fauna.
“There’s a lot of construction, machinery, sharp angles, and not a lot of nature left in that area,” Tuttle said. “I like it to be a reminder that nature is still out there even in an urban space.”
Completed late last month, the mural covers the former Harvard University New England Deposit Library on Western Avenue in Allston. Tuttle, who lives in Lowell, said her piece was inspired by the scientific research that once took place in the building (and still occurs at Harvard University’s nearby engineering and science facilities).
“I wanted to honor what the building was used for,” Tuttle said. “Growing up, I saw these illustrations of food webs and food chains in my biology textbooks, and was always struck by those images showing how each species had an ecological niche and filled a role.”
“Interconnected” is the seventh and largest installment of “Walls on Western,” a mural series conceptualized by Harvard University art initiative Zone 3 and managed by creative consulting firm Isenberg Projects. All of the new flourishes found along Western Ave. were created over the past three years by local artists including Pete Cosmos, Sam Fish, and Julia Emiliani. Murals have taken up residence on sides of buildings, garage doors, and other structures in the area.
As the “Walls on Western” project progresses, Tuttle hopes her piece will lead to even more large-scale projects. Because murals are an excellent way for the public to engage with art, she said, “You can be thinking about one thing, then as you pass by a mural, it can trigger another thought and set you in a new direction. I like it to knock people out of their routines and give them a joyful reminder that we’re all interconnected.”
Grace Griffin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GraceMGriffin.