Baltimore-based artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, known as Jessie and Katey, started creating murals because of the sheer accessibility of public art. The pair have always created work with a big visual impact, but as their designs grew they began to consider the possibility of working on the ground in addition to large-scale walls. Their site-specific floor works combine inspirations from both textiles and board games to create interactive walkways that encourage play and exploration. Jessie and Katey explain to Colossal that “the compositions are inspired by the viewer and how they might travel through the work. It’s really fun watching little kids interact with the floor murals—they always know what to do.”
The math behind both textile design and quilting is an aspect that the pair must consider when painting their large-scale works, and have started to inform how the pair begins each piece’s early designs. “We approach our large-scale work a bit like screen printers, even though we don’t screen print,” the pair explains. “Our process of execution is very methodical and we tend to think in planes or layers. This is probably a result of having to develop concepts and adapt them to larger spaces in a short amount of time. It’s interesting that painting murals has informed how we paint murals.”
This summer Jessie and Katey are working with the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation in Baltimore to create a site-specific mural for the Foundation’s new community space. The artists will also be painting a piece in Sacramento in collaboration with Wide Open Walls and later this fall will be working on an immersive installation incorporating recycled materials at Baltimore’s Goucher College, a rare opportunity for the pair to work in three dimensions. You can view more of Jessie and Katey’s work on their website and Instagram.