If the films that Hollywood has churned out in recent years are any indication, we are living in an era of super heroes and villains. The classic stories of our childhood illustrate an eternal conflict between good and evil. They make us imagine what we might be able to do to change the world if given great power.

For the past five weeks our current Orvis Artist in the Museum Kahiau Beamer has brought the imagination of visitors to Spalding House to life by taking their sketches of heroes and incorporating them into a mural in the Surface Gallery for a project called ‘Flying off the Page.’

With one week left in his residency, we spoke to Kahiau about his thoughts on his experience so far.

Five weeks into the project, how has this project lived up to or differed from your expectations?
It’s been a little bit different from what I expected. Normally I do commercial work, where you hide all of your mistakes, and all of your work is kept in the studio until there’s a final product to show. Here they encourage me to show the process, which has been a little different for me, but I’m enjoying it. It’s a lot more fun, and there’s a free feeling to it.

What kind of involvement have you seen so far?
There have been people from all walks of life, particularly a number of parents who come encouraging their kids to express their creativity and explore different facets of art, parents who aren’t necessarily artists themselves.

What have you noticed is different between the art produced by kids and adults?
The children have sometimes seemed nervous, like they were worried about having to please somebody. They also tended to create their work based off of a reference like Iron Man or somebody like that. I think the kids were exploring what they might want to be, or what they want to represent them, not necessarily knowing how to do that. The parents seemed to create works that were more representations of themselves, how they see themselves as parents (if they were super heroes), which was interesting.

A look at Beamer's mural

A look at Beamer’s mural

Do you have a favorite sketch?
There was a kid who was a little reluctant to participate at first, but once he got into it he submitted four different designs. One of them was this character called ‘Terafin,’ which was a shark-like monster that I’m working on right now. I thought his work was interesting because he didn’t use any of the templates I gave him, he created his own thing on one of the blank sheets which I was really in to.

What would you like to say to anybody thinking about coming out for the last weekend to participate?
All of your energy is appreciated. If you’d like to come down I’m much more than happy to talk with all of you, and show you the process.

Remember: With great power comes great responsibility. This Saturday and Sunday are the last days the public can get involved, so be sure to visit Kahiau while you can!