With a paint-covered smock tied around her waist and a floppy hat sitting on her head, Julia Morrisroe ducked beneath a tarp and painted circles on a new campus mural.
Bright yellow, cyan, magenta and green dots ripple on the side of the 500-foot-diameter of the Water Reclamation Tank, located along Gale Lemerand Drive.
“I’ve always lived by translating the world visually,” the UF painting and drawing professor said. “Seeing it and trying to figure out a way to make what I see happen, and that’s really what a painting is.”
Morrisroe began painting Oct. 27 and has worked about nine days, she said. The project, which includes two lectures, cost $20,000, UF spokesperson Steve Orlando wrote in an email.
Part one of the mural, “Currents of Data,” took about eight months to plan and was inspired by Morrisroe’s photos from Blue Springs State Park.
She said she wants to connect the springs with how data is used in environmental protection.
“Researching can save the springs, can protect our environment,” she said. “To me those are really natural connectors we sometimes forget about.”
She hopes to complete the mural’s first half this weekend. The mural’s second part will be worked on in 2018. Morrisroe began painting on the tank’s side pedestrians pass.
“I think art improves people’s lives,” she said. “So many people come through here all day, all morning, all afternoon, and the evening, and they deserve to have a better place to come through.”
Laura North, a UF painting senior assisting Morrisroe, said the mural’s uplifting, bright colors are memorable.
“I think these sorts of colors are sort of shocking; they can stay with you,” the 23-year-old said.
Morrisroe, who’s painted murals before, said UF should have more public art.
“Not all people are going to go to museums, and not all people are going to think carefully about what they’re looking at, but we should give them opportunities to do that,” she said.