Provided by George Mason University
George Mason University’s Murals at Mason and the College of Visual and Performing Arts will officially unveil Fauna of Belmont Bay, a large-scale mural painted on the Potomac Science Center Parking Deck this Saturday, Oct. 9 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. The 26 feet-tall by 146 feet-long mural faces the Belmont Bay Community and Marina in Woodbridge. Hungarian street artist TakerOne was commissioned by Murals at Mason to heighten the site’s aesthetic appeal and educate visitors on Northern Virginia’s native wildlife.
The mural unveiling celebrates the completion of this work and offers a meet and greet with TakerOne. The event will also feature food from a local restaurant and takes place at the site of the mural at 650 Mason Ferry Ave., Woodbridge.
The event is free and open to members of the media and public, but registration is required. Register: go.gmu.edu/muralunveiling.
“TakerOne is among the most talented young muralists working today and we are extremely honored to have his latest mural unveiled at Mason’s Potomac Science Center,” said Donald H. Russell, University Curator for George Mason. “TakerOne learned painting by practicing graffiti and street art but was quickly drawn toward the monumental scale of murals. His signature style is photorealistic with contrasting surrealist backgrounds which tie all the elements together in the viewers’ imaginations. Murals at Mason strives to create greater public visibility for murals that engage with research initiatives at the University. Creating partnerships between artists, like TakerOne and Mason’s scientists and scholars, enriches Mason’s learning environment and the greater community.”
The design of Fauna of Belmont aims to promote educational awareness of species local to Prince William County around George Mason University Science and Technology’s campus, intending to serve as an educational learning site for school-age children. The vibrant mural incorporates depictions of four key species that inhabit Belmont Bay, including the Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio glaucus), Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea), Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), and North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis). The mural is sure to become a destination tourist attraction and an educational learning site.
“It is a true honor to be given an opportunity like this,” adds TakerOne. “Knowing that people put their trust in me to beautify their walls and along with that, their surroundings, makes it extremely important to me to produce the highest possible quality, with no compromise. This duty makes me tireless and hyper-focused on my task until my artwork is finished. All of the exclusively positive feedback I have gotten so far from the residents of the area and the people from George Mason University proves that my efforts were successful, which makes me very happy.”
Murals at Mason, which is a part of Mason Exhibitions, co-commissioned and managed the mural project. The group produces on-campus public art projects designed to engage social justice issues and to enrich the University’s learning environment. TakerOne was selected from a group of artists who answered a Murals at Mason call for proposals in 2019. Although the project was delayed by the pandemic, he finally began work in mid-September and completed the mural, his largest to date, this week.
TakerOne began painting in 2001, working as a graffiti tagger and street artist in Hungary, where he learned the ins and outs of using spray paint on large surfaces. He considers himself an autodidact without any classical training, and today focuses his art on commissioned murals that enhance the environments and spaces around them. His artistic style aims for photorealistic depictions of his subjects, focusing on wildlife and the natural world. Over his career, TakerOne has painted murals everywhere from his native Hungary to Israel, New Zealand, and New York City. His art has garnered much heart-warming praise from the communities he has uplifted through his paintings.
Fauna of Belmont Bay was commissioned by Murals at Mason and Mason’s Science and Technology Executive Office. Funding for the project was made possible by Mason’s Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact; Pitkin’s Ace Hardware; William A Hazel Incorporated; The Wall Foundation; the Science and Technology Executive Office of George Mason University; Belmont Bay native Carolyn Wixsom; Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts; and Mason’s Provisions Library for Art and Social Change.