Art has always been a key element in the décor of the New York Palace. From sculptures like Penny to The Reluctant Model, we look to showcase various types of artwork that will spark interest among our guests. While incorporating numerous pieces into our new designs at the hotel, there’s one piece that will have the greatest canvas to be working from: our 2nd floor mural!
This mural is definitely a force to be reckoned with as it will be unlike any other piece we currently have on display. We commissioned Evergreene Architectural Arts to create the painting because of their strong background and reputation in working with historic, New York spaces like The Empire State Building and The Chrysler Building. Evergreene’s familiarity with blending old and new design elements together was a major factor, as that is the common theme for our renovations.
Recently, we took a trip to the Evergreene studio in Manhattan to see the work in progress and chat with Evergreene’s Mural Director Bill Mensching and mural artist Zinni Veshi.
Zinni Veshi and Bill Mensching
The New York Palace: What themes are incorporated into the mural?
Zinni Veshi: The mural represents the Industrial Revolution and New York City, which are both key elements that shaped Henry Villard into the businessman he was. The mural embodies steel, railroads, coal and steam, but also you will see water, bridges and buildings in the distance that represent New York City. In addition, the interior designers chose to use a color palette of rich golds, grays and black that bring out the colors of the future hotel lobby design.
The New York Palace: What is the design process for the mural?
Zinni Veshi: Once the design was approved, I took the ideas and themes and incorporated them into pencil sketches. I use those sketches as a model for the actual canvas. What is significant about the process is that I don’t copy the sketches but instead use them as inspiration of how the mural is supposed to look. I start by painting the canvas with the lighter colors then use the darker colors as an overlay. I also use an overhead projector that enlarges the images and helps me scale what I paint. Repetitive patterns are also incorporated into the mural to give the piece movement. This particular piece flows in a zigzag motion.
The New York Palace: What feelings do you want to evoke from guests?
Bill Mensching: This piece will be part of the experience at The Palace. It is not the focal point but is more like the background music that keeps you interested as you take in all of your surroundings.
The New York Palace: What sets the mural apart?
Bill Mensching: What sets the mural apart is that Zinni took a limited palette of warm lights and cool darks to create an entire world of color within the palette.
The New York Palace: How were you selected for the mural?
Bill Mensching: The Palace came to us with a rough idea of what they wanted to be created. They knew the theme and the colors which we learned by collaborating with the designers before developing the project. Then, it was our job to take their vision and turn it into this magnificent artwork. After initial discussions and visits, were able to conceptualize what the piece would look like in the current space, however, the challenge was actually creating something that would fit into the newly renovated space that doesn’t exist yet.
The New York Palace: How did you get started in the art industry?
Zenni Veshi: I started at an early age in daycare which turned into competing in art contests as a way to attend art schools and universities. Originally I am from Albania, and came to the United States in 1996. I first lived in Los Angeles before moving to New York to paint. Painting is a job that I love deeply and is the only job I want to do for a living.
Bill Mensching: Like Zenni, I also started drawing and painting at a young age. I studied in New York at the School of Visual Arts and then began a career in the New York theater business. I worked as a stagehand, scenic carpenter and scenic painter and I decided I wanted to do something more permanent.
The New York Palace: Something that wouldn’t be torn down eventually, right?
Bill Mensching: Exactly! So I started working at Evergreene, and for the past 25 years, I’ve focused on murals. I would have loved to paint more, but Zinni has a great vision and I enjoy working with him and our other team members.
Overall, this piece one of our most highly anticipated works to be included in our renovations and will be installed in late May. In the meantime visit Zinni Veshi’s website, www.zenniveshi.com and Bill Mensching’s website, www.williammensching.com to enjoy their personal and equally beautiful works of art.