The Big White Wall
Project at UAL’s Central Saint Martins, sponsored by Liquitex and Cass Art, has
now been completed! We’ve been following student Matthew Wang’s progress, from having never
painted before, to creating a spectacular 30 meter wall mural!
The final piece is titled 'Found' and carries deep sociological meaning.
The striking design of colored panels represents countries at the forefront of
contemporary news. The hues replicate Google's top color representations of
‘Found’: A 30-meter wall mural created using Liquitex
We interviewed Matthew again to find out how he’s feeling now the wall
is finished, and what he’s learnt along the way.
How do you feel now that
the project is finished?
Excited! I’m glad to observe how my work has impacted
those who have viewed it and I’m keen on taking the project further. I don’t
see its completion as something conclusive, but one that opens up a host of
Did the project evolve
from your initial concept?
The project evolved in a multitude of ways from
conception to realization. The choice of colors, textures and finishes had to
be adjusted to the wall and its surroundings, such as the varying light
conditions and the different possible viewing angles. I had to relinquish a
degree of control when seeking the help of friends, and had to resist touching
the work after completion. I was glad to allow these factors to shape the
outcome, as the work became much more dynamic and exciting. I have Stephanie
Nebbia, from Liquitex, to thank for teaching me to be receptive to change and
for giving me the confidence to develop my concept from start to end.
Big White Wall artist, Matthew Wang
What have you learned?
I have learned a great deal about paints and surfaces. Having to select and mix so many colors has made me more sensitive to colors in
the world around me. For example, I now think of London underground Oyster
cards are Cerulean Blue, rather than just ‘blue’! I have started to appreciate
the way work takes on new meaning when placed in the public sphere; working
beyond the studio setting demands different sets of aesthetic and ethical
capacities. Working on this scale also involves more stakeholders, so I’ve
learnt a lot about working together within a specific timeframe.
What tools or techniques did you use?
There was a lot of paint mixing by eye (Caroline List,
Paint and Surface Technician at Central Saint Martins, gave me a useful crash
course in mixing), but I did try to make use of imaging software to provide
digital color values as well. This seemed obvious given that the colors were
extracted digitally. Pete, also a technician at CSM, provided me with lasers, which
were extremely useful for creating straight lines.
I used mainly masking tape, rollers, and Liquitex
Professional Acrylic to accomplish the project. A feathering technique, which
was taught to me by Paul, another technician at CSM, was immensely useful when
applying the paints. With more familiarity and experience with the materials,
my friends and I got better at achieving consistent finishes using less layers
Matthew made thorough color calculations
throughout the project!
Have you enjoyed working with Liquitex?
Liquitex’s range of Professional Acrylic colors is
great and the finished results turned out incredibly vibrant. The Soft Body
Acrylic has perfect consistency and spread easily on the wall. The Gesso worked
well to enhance the colors and the Mediums were also really handy and easy to
What challenges did you face?
Mainly technical challenges: achieving the closest
paint matches possible, working with uneven wall surfaces, awkward scaffolding,
and balancing university demands with limited working hours. However, there are
always ways of managing or getting around challenges in any situation;
challenges are good creative exercises. I was always given a lot of support by
both Central Saint Martins and the sponsors whenever we encountered
difficulties, and I’m really grateful for that.
People enjoyed discussing the wall during the
What have people’s reactions been?
People’s reactions have been mixed; some enjoy it and
some don’t. I think that’s healthy in stimulating discussions about the work
and art in general. People have used the wall in a variety of ways - as a
backdrop for fashion photography, as a performance space, a reflective space, a
‘selfie’ wall; people have enjoyed the way the wall interacts with the rest of
the architecture. I often get asked about the wall, its concept and its
rationale. It’s really encouraging when people are enthusiastic about the work
and want to find out more.
Sunlight shines on the large-scale artwork.
you encourage other students to take part in the next Big White Wall project
Certainly. It’s extremely rare for any artist in
London to be given such a great space, materials and invaluable technical guidance.
Being able to work on this scale propels a practice forward in many ways.
To see your work come to life and be interacted with is very enjoyable
and rewarding. It’s also a very humbling experience.
Liquitex staff enjoyed attending the launch night to
celebrate Matthew’s achievement, and we look forward to supporting more artists
in the future.