I’m so happy to have delivered and installed “Mantis Making Way”, which was commissioned by Mantis of Burlington, ON. This painting celebrates a new addition with a total renovation of the Mantis manufacturing and warehouse facility. To me, the painting is a kind of portrait that also celebrates a new beginning and bright future.
While all the elements have been abstracted at least to some degree, I intentionally restrained the abstraction on the building elements, as it seemed important to keep this celebrated building somewhat intact. I wanted to be sure to include the whole building, which is why I chose this specific vantage point. Also, I eliminated the trees located in front of the building, as they greatly obscured its view. Thus, the green elements and the sky elements had more permission to disregard reality, and to become more expressive of growth and energy.
More than once, I remember seeing Wally, the president of Mantis, riding on the lawn mower, keeping the grounds looking trim and proper. So just to tease, because Wally enjoyed a bit of teasing, I made sure the grass was a little bit too wild, and in that way memorializes that he is and always will be missed since his passing in January of 2020.
I was so happy when the new president, Michele, informed me of the new landscaping, because to me, the new landscaping offers elements that represent how she has stepped up to continue the leadership of growing the company. So, the shrubbery, represented here as the young plants they are, are intended to be a series of individual sculptures celebrating individuality that are learning and growing together.
At least in my mind, this piece has an underlying nautical theme, mostly to honor Wally’s love of venturing out on his big boat. So, the sky had to culminate in the deepest infinite blues. And the building often reminded me of the bow of a great ship, with the bright red swath lining the deck, which is why I decided to use a vantage point that is slightly lower than eye-level.
In nautical terms, ‘making way’ means ‘being propelled through the water and controlled by the helm’. I like that term because I am so impressed with how Mantis continues despite many unexpected challenges brought on by the year 2020. A similar term is ‘underway’, but ‘making way’ seems to be more about proceeding along a controlled path, which seemed appropriate. ‘Making way’ also reminded me of Toolgrid, which exists to help people take control of the organization of tools, ‘making way’ for greater productivity.
You can find out more about Toolgrid here: https://mantiscanada.com/about-toolgrid