Water.org Globe Project

My boss, Gary White, is being honored this year as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s 12 Remarkable Global Citizens. (Water.org is the non-profit I work for, focused on safe water and sanitation projects in developing countries.) As part of the big celebration event later in September, Conde Nast is organizing a “Global Gallery,” with an exhibition of twelve globe sculptures representing each of the causes these Visionaries are famous for championing. And although I am no grand visionary myself, I did have the honor of designing and creating the Globe that represents Water.org at the event!

I started with a bunch of sketches, and immediately knew I wanted the water to come alive. But how?

Using watercolor frisket, I started by painting linear designs over all the oceans. I wanted patterns that had lots of energy and life, and were also inspired by traditional patterns in the countries where Water.org works, such as India and West Africa.

Watercolor frisket is a type of rubber-cement paint that dries quickly to make a water resistant seal over whatever you’ve painted on. It also smells like hamster pee and will wreck your paintbrush if you don’t rinse it out every 15 min.

Did I use patterns that were carefully researched and objectively determined to be the best, or the kind of patterns that I love and wish were everywhere? The world may never know.

Once all the oceans were finished, I masked off the stand and spray painted the whole planet black, turning it into what looked like a toasty marshmallow.

Once it’s dry, time to peel off the frisket and reveal the hidden message!

Full design.

A few layers of varnish to keep the spraypaint layer from chipping.

Globe one and globe two, finished! Since I’d never done a project remotely like this before and couldn’t find any tutorials or examples of this being done, I wanted to make sure I had a back-up globe in case the first attempt was a disaster. As it was though, I was happy enough with the first result, and only made minor adjustments the second time around.

Globe Two is off to New York to represent Water.org at the Globe Gallery for 2012 Visionaries. Did I mention the globes get auctioned at the end of the gala, with all funds from this one going to the charity of Gary’s choice? I can’t wait to see coverage of the event, check out what other globes have been dreamed up and how they’re received. So proud to be part of this endeavor!