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Dinderbeck Mural - Spring 2024

I was a member at Dinderbeck Studios from December 2022 to April 2024. If you've ever been inside Dinderbeck then you know its interior walls are completely covered in artwork. My studio mates were kind enough to let me add a mural to their collection, based on an illustration I'd done a few months earlier. For some context, in late 2023 I did a small series of digital illustrations using the color palette from my Bunker Elementary mural, with the idea that one day I might eventually paint one or several of them on a wall somewhere, using my plethora of leftover supplies. I was able to make that happen sooner than expected, even though it was a personal project rather than a paid one.

I​ worked on this mural at a leisurely pace, so I didn't keep track of how long it took me or what I worked on during each session. It was just a fun way to use up some extra paint and get in some more mural practice. I would love to put more art like this on people's walls, so get in touch if this is a project that speaks to you.

Bunker Elementary STEAM Lab - Winter 2022-23

In late 2022, my proposal and design were chosen for an 8-foot by 32-foot indoor ACM-panel mural that was eventually installed in the STEAM Lab at Bunker Elementary, located within the Muskegon public school district. The project was facilitated by Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts.


My proposed design featured six different brightly colored characters with items and characteristics indicating careers in STEAM, surrounded by various icons that represent STEAM themes as well. As a professional medical illustrator, the majority of my work necessitates accuracy and realism, and in many cases some degree of rigidity and seriousness. Wherever possible, in both my medical illustration work and other artwork, I try to infuse whimsy and a sense of flow and personality; in late 2022 that often took the form of a stylized, character-driven aesthetic. Despite these characters' simple, somewhat generic features, I wanted to design a mural that was inclusive to the vast array of human experience within STEAM careers, while still being fun, colorful, imaginative, and befitting a children's learning environment. By incorporating a variety of professions, various racial and ethnic characteristics, and different abilities and disabilities into the characters, it was my hope that kids who see the mural could see themselves in it in some capacity, therefore envisioning themselves with a possible future career in STEAM.

During my initial work sessions, I prepped the panels by sanding, priming, sanding again, and then cleaning. I then transferred my design onto the panels using the projector method, then spent two sessions blocking in my background colors, and a few more long sessions painting my characters and background elements (all with the help of a few assistants along the way, to whom I am forever grateful). After the panels were transported to the school, I had the opportunity to do some touch-ups onsite before they were finally installed and unveiled in early February 2023.

This experience was overall positive, but I feel that I need to be honest and acknowledge that I encountered many frustrating logistical and communication-related issues along the way. Aside from that though, I learned a lot through working on this project, the main lesson being that everything takes a lot longer than you expect it to when painting at such a large scale.


Lions and Rabbits Storm Drain Initiative - Summer 2022

Each summer since 2020, Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts has partnered with the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW) Adopt-A-Drain Program. Lions and Rabbits supports this program by hiring and project managing local artists to paint storm drains around the city of Grand Rapids. This project supports LGROW’s mission promoting clean, safe environments for our families and friends. In 2022 I was one of over 30 artists selected to design and paint a storm drain mural. The designs could be somewhat open-ended as long as they included the theme of water, so I chose to follow my medical illustrator instincts and created a mural that incorporated both water and human anatomy. What better way to do that than with the urinary system? Learn more about the Storm Drain Initiative here.

I worked on the sidewalk mural over the course of three painting sessions. During the first session I primed the 6x6' square, laid down a grid to transfer my design to the sidewalk (in general I'm of the opinion that gridding is cheating, but for such a large scale transfer without the possibility of projection, it seemed like a necessary tool), and sketched in the outlines with yellow paint. During session number two, I started blocking out some of the main colors, but cut it short because I didn't have the right shade of red, and the artery turned out more pastel than intended. During the third and final session, I re-painted all of the red, then pushed through and finished the entirety of the painting (getting very sunburned in the process).

This was my first introduction to public art of any kind, and it made me want to venture deeper into larger murals, or at the very least participate in the Storm Drain Initiative again should it take place again in the future. I learned a lot about painting on a rough surface, about color matching and paint mixing (turns out I'm very spoiled by digital art), about the importance of sunscreen, and about people's mixed reactions to an artist painting kidneys on the sidewalk. The sidewalk murals that are part of this initiative are intentionally impermanent because of their proximity to the storm drains; we used ecologically friendly water-based paint, and the murals were not sealed. Some murals will last longer than others based on the amount of foot traffic in the area; ultimately all of them will fade and wear down eventually, but I hope to see more and more added each summer if the initiative continues. If you're inclined to see it in person while it lasts, this mural is located at the corner of Eastern and Harvey in Midtown, Grand Rapids.

An illustration by Emily Hromi/Studio Hromi LLC, of a mural design of the urinary system (kidneys, ureters, major vessels) surrounded by waves, droplets, and other water motifs.
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