Street Artist SatOne Transforms the Observation Deck of Dobbin’s Landing, Erie, Pennsylvania 2019

Artist SatOne has just completed a unique project titled ‘Flotsam’ on the observation deck of Dobbin’s Landing, Erie, Pennsylvania, United States. The project was curated by Iryna Kanishcheva, and funded by Erie Arts & Culture and Erie-Western PA Port Authority.

The observation deck of Dobbin’s Landing is 12,000 square feet (more than 1,000 square meters) of usable surface, which was located at the foot of the street that serves as the main vein into Downtown Erie. The mural would be painted on the surface of an observation platform surrounded by Lake Erie Bay. The site was a location valued by both tourists and residents. Viewers would have the opportunity to see the mural from two perspectives, one while standing on the surface itself and the other 137 feet above the mural from a second observation deck.

“Like never seen before, Erie is generating a momentum that will lead to measurable change. Under Mayor Schember’s administration, there is a focus on developing Erie’s Downtown and Bayfront to be a world-class destination. As an arts administrator, I believe deeply that the arts can play an important role in encouraging both residents and tourists to see Erie differently. As a city, we must be intentional with what assumptions, ideas, and behaviours we keep and what we must discard to become a thriving mid-sized American city in the 21st century. This is why Rafael’s interpretation of flotsam and jetsum is a beautiful metaphor for Erie.” Erie Arts & Culture

Curiosity is a driving force in SatOne’s life. The artist is drawn to engage with people and environments that offer unique stories. It leads to the discovery of situations that others may overlook in their daily routine.

SatOne finds the definition of flotsam so intriguing – people or items that have been rejected or regarded as worthless. In traditional maritime culture, this referred to the wreckage of a ship and what debris may eventually wash ashore. But, as people, he thinks all of us at one point in our lives experience a moment when we feel cast aside and not valued.

Within this image the viewer may discover abstract objects that were carried to the shoreline by the momentum of the waves. The triangular element points across jetted ripples in the water to the wreckage from which it came. And in that, we find the story of a treasure waiting on the sand to be reclaimed by those who are curious. Once discovered, how will this item be re-imagined and what new purposes may it serve?

“The project posed some logistical challenges. Being on Lake Erie, there was a constant strong wind that during the first day was almost deafening. From sunrise to sunset, there was no escaping from the sun. If it rained, that meant the entire day was essentially a wash. And, because the observation deck has no covering, seagulls and other birds could make their mark on the surface just as easily as the artist.” Iryna Kanishcheva

“Our goal was to enliven the site with bold colours that fit the environment. We also wanted to avoid creating a piece that served as a literal representation of maritime culture or Erie’s history. We wanted to create a piece that challenged the viewer to use their imagination.” Iryna Kanishcheva

SatOne took 6 days of working between 10 to 14 hours each day to finish, using a total of 30 gallons of paint and 22 different colours to create Flotsam.



Photo credit Iryna Kanishcheva, drone pictures by Lake Effect Aerial



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