The coronavirus outbreak forced the world to stay shut inside this spring and summer, leaving people surrounded by the walls of their homes, office buildings and hospital rooms. The challenge of this year has been turning the new reality into something beautiful and creative, and a local artist has found a way to do that.
Regis Turocy will host an online art show and auction called the “Walls Project” on Friday, and all proceeds will be donated to the Children’s Hospital Colorado. The auction will include artwork from 17 international artists who have created pieces inside miniature walls designed by Turocy, and then shrunk and photographed to create a virtual gallery. The auction will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Turocy’s Instagram page.
“We have been asked to stay inside our walls, entertain ourselves, find work or help, remain sane and then hold our composure and reactions to those fighting for their freedom and lives within other types of walls,” Turocy said. “The idea of walls kind of grew. We were all asked or forced to stay inside, which eventually led to people having to be inside themselves.”
The Walls Project began before the COVID-19 shutdown as a concept to call attention to the inhumane treatment of children along the southern U.S. border. In March, the idea shifted and Turocy turned his attention to children’s hospitals. Having spent much of his childhood in hospitals with life-threatening diseases, Turocy felt compassion and empathy for the children shut inside without being able to see their parents or be outside, he said. At the same time, galleries across the country were closed, so Turocy decided to make his own.
“We really want these kids to know that people are still thinking about them and their families,” Turocy said. “There’s people out there that need a loving hug and abundance sent to them and we’re doing the best that we can.”
Turocy created small, lightweight frames made from grout and foam to resemble real brick walls, and sent them to participating artists, some of whom live and work locally and some of whom are based around the world. Artists painted their walls in their unique style. Turocy took high-resolution photos of each of the murals then shrunk them to about an inch by a half-inch. The tiny paintings will be hung in Turocy’s miniature gallery and shot on video to make it look like walking into a real gallery over social media.
“It’s not like an art show anybody’s ever seen,” said Aaron Brooks, another local artist and participant in the auction. “It’s a definite new experience for anybody who’s ever been to an art show.”
Brooks, who described his work as psychedelic surrealism and cartoons, decorated his mural with a well-known character from his work. It’s important for people who make a living off of their art to give back, Brooks said.
Chris Dyer, a Peruvian street artist based in Montreal, Canada, said it also is important to support young artists like Turocy and help them achieve their dreams. Dyer painted his mural with markers to reflect how he would paint an actual wall with spray paint. Like Brooks, his mural features a common character from his work.
“I’m just a dude expressing his heart and hoping to see more love happening in this world so that we can heal it and save our humanity and enter a new age of good vibes and happiness wherever we can,” Dyer said.After the auction, anyone interested in seeing more from the 18 featured artists can find a list of links to their pages here. Dyer’s work is available to view on Instagram or on his website, and Brooks’ is available on Instagram and Facebook. Turocy's glass art also can be viewed on Instagram.