Trio unveils engine mural on Bank Row in Greenfield

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 09-02-2022 10:49 AM

GREENFIELD — Noticing a roughly 11-by-12-foot mural depicting engine components on the side of the Manna House building late Tuesday morning, Rachel Stoler approached three people standing near it in a Bank Row alleyway and asked one if he was the artist.

David Zaccheo explained the image is his, but the mural was a team effort.

“This is awesome,” replied Stoler, a Turners Falls resident. “I love this. It reminds me of a book that I read that I really loved,” referring to “The Lost Thing” by Shaun Tan.

The mural that grabbed her attention was pasted to the wall in three horizontal pieces over four hours Sunday night. The image was taken from a series of 4-by-4-foot paintings Zaccheo completed during an artist’s residency in Vermont about 10 years ago, and the mural was spearheaded by his nephew, Gabe Zaccheo, who recruited his uncle as well as friend Julia Hioe. The younger Zaccheo explained this work is part of his Hidden Canvas Mural Project. Two other murals (one of a crow and one of a cat) are at different locations on Hope Street. However, he explained, this mural is made of a different type of material.

“It’s called polytab mural fabric,” Gabe Zaccheo elaborated. “It’s a famous process throughout the mural community. It’s this very thin, non-woven cloth that gets primed and put up in the studio, and then it all gets painted in a studio and eventually gets glued up on a wall.”

Gabe Zaccheo said the team used the former Greenfield Center School, which is owned by his architect/artist uncle, and Hioe did the majority of the base painting.

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“It took about 40, 45 hours to do the entire mural,” Hioe said.

David Zaccheo handled the finishing touches, which he said took roughly eight hours.

The elder Zaccheo said the original image is titled “Internal Combustion.”

“(I’ve) always been really fascinated by machine shapes and industrial forms. And we kind of went back in time and picked it,” he said. “I selected this work just because we … wanted to pay a little tribute to Greenfield’s industrial heritage. I’m thrilled to show the work in a town with such a proud history, and that was kind of the connection.”

He explained the image was scanned and projected onto the polytab mural fabric, traced, and then the colors were matched using a digital scan. He said he plans to add some lighting to “make it a little more of a presence at night.”

The younger Zaccheo said the Bank Row building is owned by Jordi Herold, who is friendly with his father, Mark Zaccheo. Gabe Zaccheo said he approached Herold and asked for permission to install the mural on the side of the building. Herold sponsored half the mural while the Crossroads Cultural District Committee sponsored the other half, the younger Zaccheo said. Attempts to contact Herold were unsuccessful by press time on Tuesday.

More information about the mural project is available at hiddencanvasmurals.com. Any interested artists, volunteers or building owners can contact Gabe Zaccheo at hiddencanvasmuralproject@gmail.com. He mentioned there are two more murals planned.

Reach Domenic Poli at dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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