Seaport Art Studios to become octopus’ garden with new mural

Seaport Art Studios becomes octopus’ garden with new mural
Seaport Art Studios (Photo by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

Seaport Art Studios, home to multiple artist studios in the outer reaches of western Richmond, will kick off a mural project on March 12, courtesy of artist Bunnie Reiss.

Reiss’ mural, yet untitled, will take a week to complete with helpers and will adorn the building’s outdoor, three-story façade by the main entrance. An octopus surrounded by cordelias will be the central focus of the mural, which was commissioned by Seaport Art Studio’s Managing Director Sean Orlando.

Orlando said he’s been a huge fan of the artist’s work for many years and that Reiss is painting the mural as a gift to him and the community they’ve built there. “The neighborhood is very industrial and grey, so I wanted to bring in some more color to the neighborhood,” he said.

When sharing her vision for the mural, Reiss told Orlando she was thinking of him, his relationship with his daughter, his art and how he’s built a fantastic world that’s extremely unique and an essential part of his soul.

The building manager had previously expressed his love for the image of an octopus, and Reiss shared with him her assumption that he had never really looked at himself as one.

“We all have some part-animal in us, and whatever your belief system, this plays a big role in who we are,” she told him. Reiss noted that wisdom, transformation, generosity, self-sacrifice and mystery are just a few things that come to her mind when she thinks of Orlando’s “Octopus soul.”

The orange flowers planned for the mural represent Orlando’s daughter, Farryn, because the artist sees her as Orlando’s “glue,” calling her the reason he moves in this world and the truest treasure in his menagerie of art.

Orlando said Seaport Art Studios might host a wine and cheese event to celebrate the mural’s unveiling—stay tuned.

Seaport Art Studios is located at 4925 Seaport Ave. in Richmond. Questions? Contact [email protected].