No, that’s not a large stained glass window behind Linden Square.
The colorful, geometric design tucked away between the Bank of America and the California Pizza Kitchen is actually the latest installation from artist and Wellesley resident Alexander Golob.
While it’s not made of glass, the paneled mural — titled “Coloring Book” — does employ an almost translucent effect contributing to its stained glass appearance.
“I really want people to be able to see the brushstrokes and have the white of the panel kind of show through,” Golob explained.
The 600 foot-long mural came about through a partnership with the artist, who grew up in town, and Federal Realty, which owns the property.
Because the mural is so large, Golob explained, the Aug. 30 unveiling was a special moment in that it allowed him to see his finished work come together at last.
“I had never seen more than six panels together at any one point,” he said. “So for me, it was really exciting when we were installing this a few days ago, because it was the first time that I was actually able to see it all together.”
In an interview with the Townsman, Golob provided insight into his style and the creative process behind “Coloring Book.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Can you walk us through what’s depicted here?
It’s kind of an abstracted view of a lot of iconic images and places in Wellesley, a lot of it also mixed with nature. So there’s the Town Hall, there’s the library in the center and then there’s kind of three prototypical buildings that you might find in Wellesley — old wood-frame houses as well as some of the early 20th century brick stuff that you might find along Central Street and Washington Street.
And then in the foreground ... you see kind of the commuter rail and the T station, as well as some people having a picnic.
What inspired the geometric design you’ve got going on?
I really enjoy the idea of kind of exploring where three-dimensional space meets two-dimensional space and exploring how space flattens and expands on a 2D surface.
So for me, this kind of stained glass aesthetic that I used for this project and a few other projects that I’ve worked on before is something really fascinating and can engender a lot of energy, a lot of dynamic energy, a lot of really interesting formal exploration of forms.
You’ve had other installations in the area. Have you ever done anything this size before?
Yes, I’ve actually done something two-and-a-half times larger. It’s still up, actually, at [Boston University] at the College of Fine Arts outdoors. ... I’m actually about to start one that’s even larger than that one in Haverhill. It’s going to be about 1,600 square feet, and it’s a very different style than this. It’s going to be based on Renaissance Italian ceramic style of aesthetic, called Maiolica for short.
It’s going to be about immigrant stories, so we’re going to be creating these Maiolica frames ... and then inside we’re going to be placing paintings of crowdsourced photographs of people’s immigrant and origin families.
How does it feel to have something up in your hometown?
It’s great, I love it.
Wellesley has not seen public art in I don’t know how many millennia. I mean, it’s really unfortunate, because public art is the way that people, whether new or old in a community, have the capacity to mold and forge a shared space that represents their identities and their creative expression. And I’ve always found it really tragic that there is not more of that around, so this has been a really exciting opportunity.
Anything else that you’d like to add?
The idea of the project was to create something that would be dynamic, energetic and fun.
In Wellesley, a lot of ways, there are these beautiful houses — beautiful, nicely paved, manicured spaces — but again very little creative spirit, and I think this is kind of addressing that. This is about doing something fun that also appeals to a broad audience.
More of Golob’s work can be found at alexandergolob.com. *
* Now at alexandergolobart.com
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