Houston Business Journal
February 2007 | Page 1A  &  4A

Jeremy and Jamie Wells didn’t have a clear concept in mind when Chevron Corp. asked the husband and wife team to submit a design for artwork to be displayed in a company office building.

A stroll through the atrium lobby venue of the Bellaire building gave the co-owners of creative arts firm Imago Dei LLC inspiration on a grand scale.

Covering two walls 120 feet wide and six stories tall would require Texas-sized art.

They put the finishing touches this week on the display at 4800 Fournace Place, featuring abstract larger-than-life paintings based on photos of various Texas landscapes taken by the couple while on vacations.

The final design includes 18 mural paintings, each 10 feet by 14 feet, grouped in six triptych patterns of three paintings.

The company began preliminary design work in January 2006 at Imago Dei studios on Flintlock Road and began the actual painting in August, transposing the smaller image grid onto the large canvas.

“They really didn’t have any idea of what kind of artwork they wanted,” says Jeremy Wells. “But they had these offices with windows looking out at this beg wall, which was kind of boring.”

Although installation is complete, the lighting will take longer to finish. So the artwork titled “Life and Light: Texas Landscape” will remain draped mysteriously behind some equally large curtains until the April unveiling.

Instead of sweeping landscape scenes, the paintings reflect abstract close-ups of details seen in the wild, such as an oddly shaped tree branch or an artistic crack in a rock cliff face.

And no doubt about it, the paintings are big.

More than 100 gallons of acrylic paint were used, along with 2,500 feet of wooden framing and 2,700 square feet of canvas imported from Indonesia.

Mounted on two 100-foot by 22-foot metal sculptures, the artwork appears to be “floating” in front of the atrium walls.

In addition to giving the 10-employee company a major revenue boost, the Chevron project also has raised Imago Dei’s profile in the public and corporate art project world around North America.

The local art firm is now a finalist for another large civic project to create a mural on the side of a church for a town in rural New Brunswick, Canada.

Jeremy Wells, who founded the company in California in 1999 and relocated to Houston in 2001, sees the Chevron project as a springboard to more public art projects in the future.

Says Wells: “It’s opening up some doors.”