SuperDragons was a community-arts initiative of Newport City Council. Modelled on the worldwide Cow Parade public art exhibitions, local artists were asked to submit designs with the winners being turned into community artwork by the artists themselves. So far the initiative has taken place in 2010 and 2012 with approximately 60 large, decorated, fibreglass dragons being presented on each occasion.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to work on one of the dragons, in 2012. I submited a few designs, but the one that made the cut was “Grand Central Dragon”, inspired by New York’s Grand Central station’s astronomical ceiling, complete with a ‘dirty patch’ (by his tail). This patch shows the colour of Grand Central’s ceiling before the mid 1990’s restoration. Restoration workers left the patch behind as a reminder of how the ceiling looked before, thick with dirt and grime.
I flew from NYC to Newport specifically to complete the dragon. I brought most of my paint supplies, reference materials and transfer paper with me, not wanting to waste a second after I landed. I was surprised at how large Dragon was, and he took many days to complete. My workspace was the window of the Dragons’s Den (an empty shop turned temporary art studio), so many people walked passed and looked in at what I was doing. Some days people even ventured inside the shop to talk to me. It was incredibly rewarding to see how happy Dragon made the children..and even a few business women and builders came in to let me know how much they enjoyed seeing “Grand Central’s” progression. What a thoroughly wonderful experience.
I wonder where “32. Grand Central Dragon” is now!
Hey, and the South Wales Argus even wrote about “Grand Central” here: Newport artist’s SuperDragon inspired by New York
The original submission, below!