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A whimsical twist on the East Campus image

A few weeks ago, I walked out of Griffith Theater in the Bryan Center and did a double take. A new, fanciful banner covered the once blank, grey brick wall that surrounds the upper level.

I couldn’t help but stop and stare for several moments; it seemed as if the brochure-perfect picture of the East Campus Quad on a spring day had been taken over by zombies, bubble gum, aliens, rainbow afros, marine animals and a similarly spontaneous pair of paintbrushes.

The imaginative piece was created by co-artists Justina Wong and Aubrey Frazzitta, who were commissioned by the Office of Student Activities and Facilities and the Duke Innovative Design Agency to create something eye-catching with a gigantic and seemingly unexciting photo of East Campus, Wong said.

Frazzitta added that the assignment was part of OSAF’s current efforts to “refresh the BC and include more student artwork.”

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The two seniors spent over a week painting on the stage of Reynolds Theater. Both Wong and Frazzitta said that they didn’t plan out the art – they just let it flow at random. Wong said that she “approached the task as a huge doodling.”

“The assignment was just to create a fun work of art that would inspire the creativity of Duke students,” Frazzitta said. “We really had a lot of freedom regarding the direction to take the project in, so Justina and I just dove in and got started! We didn’t plan too much beforehand, as we wanted the project to have an aspect of randomness and spontaneity.”

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Every time I leave my class in Griffith, I notice something new in the painting, pigs flying above Baldwin Auditorium, zombie squirrels in the trees and even Waldo. (I won’t tell you where he is!)

Even if you don’t make it down to that part of the BC too often, I recommend that you take a look next time you eat at McDonald’s or Armadillo Grill, but make sure you have a few minutes to spare.

“The joy it brings to other people makes me so happy,” Wong said. “I like that people have to stand there and stare at it for a good few minutes in order to absorb the full magnitude of craziness in the paintings.”


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