Round Trips, Widening Circles
Completed June 1st, 2019

Immense gratitude to the city of Rockford for hooking me up with this great project and for being such great hosts! I am definitely in one of my happy places being outside painting big walls like this, and haven’t been commissioned to do as many as I’d like, so thanks again for helping me to get that moving along nicely. Also huge thanks to Anthony Lewellen, Erik C. Harris, and Nick Herrera for the capable and extremely valuable helping hands.

Here’s a little backstory about how I drifted into the title of this mural:

After the owner of the mural site had expressed concern about damaging the ivy growing up the side of the building's walls, I suggested using it as a design element of the mural. I came up with using circles of negative space to create framing for the places the ivy will continue to grow. During the design process I was listening to an interview with environmental activist, Joanna Macy, who happened to read the following poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I've been circling for thousands of years
and I still don't know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

Upon hearing that I was reminded of something which I return to frequently, which is the idea of "widening our circles of compassion". I couldn't remember where I'd originally heard that, so after doing an internet search my foggy memory was refreshed by this fantastic quote from Albert Einstein:

"A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

Good shit! Huge co-sign, Albert Einstein.

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