Arthur the Artist

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The Origins of Pegasus

The Origins of Pegasus

Pegasus was inspired by my time as an art teacher at Hillside Children's Center. My students faced serious mental and emotional challenges and this drove me to work harder to connect with them. I set out to create original art projects that could capture their imagination and Pegasus played a crucial role.

I noticed many students were intimidated by drawing freehand so I drew a light pencil outline of a dragon's head and asked them to customize the features with magic markers. The project was a hit! Many fantastic dragons were created that day but when a student asked me to draw her dragon as a horse, Pegasus was born! I decided right then that I wanted to blow their minds so I grabbed some magic markers and went to town. The first iteration looked like a berserk robotic knight from chess, but the students loved it so much that I had to develop it further.

I expanded the image using scotch tape and sheets of paper until it was about 3’ x 3’. Drawing at this scale was helpful in making the gestures of the body fluid and dynamic. A vivid rainbow pattern unfolded on the wings adding a surreal, eye-catching twist to the classic image. Once the basics were in place, I added the smoky, stylized background and cleaned up the linework digitally in preparation for a mural to be painted in the hallway.

Working on the mural everyday after class created so many opportunities to connect with students and staff. It reminded me of why I made artwork in the first place and proved to myself that doing what I love does positively impact those around me. The whole project slowly developed over the course of several months and I was amazed at how it strengthened my relationships with the students.

It wasn't until a while after the mural was complete until I learned that in Greek Mythology, it is said that inspiring water springs burst forth wherever Pegasus sets foot, providing inspiration and creativity to whoever drinks its waters. Knowing the powerful connection between the ancient legend and this modern incarnation enhances the mysterious sense of wonder that’s found in this piece.

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