Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I’m Not The Only One - Part II

My last blog entry shared the stories behind the ideas and inspiration that influenced the creation of a twenty-foot long wall mural entitled, “I’m Not The Only One”. To date, I’ve only shown you the first of the five panels used to create this mural…

Here it is again, in case you forgot what it looked like.

I mentioned, briefly, that I’m also creating an animated video to tell the story of this mural, leading up to the opening reception. I’ve created these 3 image sequences to share this idea on my Facebook pages. There are many more photos that will be appearing in the video, but the 3 image sequence gets the idea across.

In each 3 image sequence, one completed mural panel is showcased. The artwork created by the students who ride The Peacebus is used to create the words in these mural panels. Each panel also shares stories about some of the adventures that have happened on the bus. This panel showcases all eleven pages of the book entitled, “A Turtle’s Great Adventure” that was created at the beginning of this school year, last October.

Now that a mural panel has been loaded into my car, it is time to venture to the Cherryhill Library where it will be hung for the opening reception – Vroom! Vroom!
And now I’m unloading the mural panel and taking it into the mall where the library is located. But wait!? What’s this???? Above we see that I’m loading the panel “NOT” into the car, so how is it that I’m unloading the panel “THE” when I arrive at the mall?

HA! When this idea popped into my head I laughed! I thought that this would be a fun way to showcase each individual mural panel and also show the journey that all the mural panels went through, at the same time.

And this is the completed 3rd panel in the sequence. As you can see, there is a lot going on inside each panel. There’s no way that this art creation could be fully understood just by a passing glance. This artwork demands a closer look!
I wanted people to get a sense of how this project would look when it was completed, so I made this image showcasing the first 3 of the 5 panels. I was very satisfied to see that the bus (painted in shades of gray) was becoming very visible.

After entering the mall (above), I’ve now entered the library and I’m carrying the “ONLY” panel to the Cherryhill Room, inside the Cherryhill Library, which is found inside the Cherryhill Mall, where I will soon be hosting the opening reception.

This panel was a bit more challenging – it has the most letters in it. If I had made all the letters the same height (as the rest of the mural panels) then the letters would have been very thin, making it almost impossible to read. This panel looks a bit more abstract but that’s okay with me.
The “O” in this panel is dedicated to many of my Facebook friends. It tells the story about how I used photos sent to me from these friends to be the first art decorations on my bus.


This is the final 3 image sequence that I’ve put together. It was meant to be a bit of a tease, because you’d possibly expect me to have shown the whole mural. If I did that then there would be no need to attend the opening reception… and I wanted you to attend!

It was Thursday, June 14 at 2:22pm when the last artwork was glued onto this mural panel. This was a great moment – I could relax for about 30 seconds! The opening reception would be in two more days and I still had a lot of work to do to get ready.

This work took me until the day of the opening to complete. One last minute run down to the photocopy centre and then back home to pick up Joanne and Devon and I arrived at the library with 43 seconds to spare! Wheewwww!!!

I made just twenty prints of this ‘mini poster’ and then I numbered and signed each one. I made them to be small souvenirs for any of the Peacebus students who attended the opening reception….

… and several did!!!! The first to arrive were Abbey and Liam with their father. You can see that Abbey was having fun giving Mr. Jim the ‘rabbit ears’!!!!

As you can imagine, Devon and I made it into many photos, but since this part of my story is about those who attended I’m just going to show those photos. I quickly learned that Andor’s father loves babies. Seconds after this photo was taken, he was playing with Devon on the play mats that I had brought into this room.

It was very nice having many moments to chat with the students and their parents outside of the school yard and bus stops. I see Justine’s parents almost every morning and usually we just have a few seconds to exchange some fun words, so it was nice to be able to have an actual conversation.

It was hard to remember to take photos of everyone who attended. Although the atmosphere was relaxed, there was always a lot going on.

I was really happy to see that Carrie had come to visit with her mom and her son Jakob - who I’ve known since only a few hours after his birth!

Even my real estate agent Bud (there’s no Bud wiser!!!!) made a huge effort to be a part of this days happenings. He had spent the afternoon working in nearby Strathroy and noticing that it was getting near 4:00pm (the end of the opening reception) he quickly wrapped up his business and zoom zoomed his way to London to check out this mural. Thanks Bud!

A great surprise for me was seeing one of my closest friends from high school. Because it was a two hour drive to London, Brenda decided to make a day of it with her daughter Alyssa. They spent the morning at Storybook Gardens and after lunch then arrived at the library to meet my family and see the wall mural. It had been almost 21 years since we last saw each other and I hope we won’t wait another 21 years until we get together again.

There was an interesting surprise waiting for Don, when he surprised me with his visit. It seems that there were many surprises for many people during this two hour long event!!!! Don’s surprise was seeing his picture in this wall mural!

Two summers ago, I had arranged to use the Peacebus to transport (for free) people from across London to a local organic blueberry farm. Photos from that event made it into this mural and since Don also attended the ‘Blueberry Daze’ he is now a part of the story.


This is Grace. She is one of the many people who I see when I’m working at my second job. My second job is driving mini-buses around town, helping people with mobility problems. Sometimes my passengers are going to doctor’s appointments and sometimes my passengers are visiting local libraries to see art mural installations!
All in all, it was a great event!!!! It would be hard for me to plan anything better – even if I could. All the smiles and silly jokes, rabbit ears and crying babies, hugs and memories shared made this an afternoon I will cherish for the rest of my life!! Thanks to all for sharing these moments with me!
Since then (and this event only happened a week ago) I have received emails and posts on my Facebook pages by other parents and students who have also gone to view this mural. Even some fellow bus drivers have made it down to the library for a look-see.
If you would like to pop in to check it out, it will be on display at the Cherryhill Library until the end of July, before it continues its tour through three other London Libraries over the next six months.
If you decide to go I will make just one simple suggestion… be prepared to smile!

Mr. Jim


Bud said...

Jim, you are to be commended for the great work you do with kids and to encourage their interest in art. Congratulations on the completion of “I’m Not The Only One”. All the best and peace! Bud Loughlin

Amoz Ikway said...

I wonder if Yoko Ono would appreciate it. I kinda think she'd like it.