Located in Downtown Loveland at 426 N. Lincoln Ave is a recently painted mural called “Ladyface” or “The Lady of Gressiwick” on the side of what’s now named ‘The Gressiwick’ building.
Ladyface is a bright, colorful depiction of “an every woman” with a flowing blue braid, a foliage of metallic flowers and butterflies in her hair, and a set of interactive butterfly wings. It was created with a special mineral paint that forms a chemical bond to brick, giving the painting longevity and allowing it to have colorfastness, lightfastness, as well as survive the elements. It is approximately 6,000 square feet and is 26 feet high and 70 feet wide and is uniquely named — just like the artist who painted her.
The new Loveland mural is the brainchild of Wildrose Hamilton — a humble, multidisciplinary artist with a background in apparel, textile design, and painting and a passion for storytelling through visual arts.
“My dad decided that he wanted to name me ‘Wild’, but my older sister got to collaborate, and she wanted to name me ‘Rosy’, so they ended up with the name ‘Wildrose’. It gives a preconceived notion of who I am – in fact my [now] boyfriend thought that I was an 80-year-old woman,” Hamilton said.
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Hamilton is a Boulder, Colorado native with British roots whose mother and father moved from England to the states for her father’s continued work in astrophysics. Born to a woman who loved fashion, puppetry, creativity, and art, Hamilton attributes most of her love and artistic ability not only to her mother, but also to her father whose love for science and “black holes” inspired her creative mind from an early age.
Even though she always knew she wanted to be an artist, Hamilton didn’t always know she wanted to be a painter until college when she decided to be work on a double major and study both apparel design and painting at Colorado State University.
She presently displays her artwork at art shows in Northern Colorado and works at EsScentuals in Fort Collins as the go-to girl for the store, where she writes newsletters, helps with sales, and does whatever is needed to keep the store running smoothly. But it was at one of her art shows in Fort Collins where she met Christina Gressiana – the woman who asked Hamilton to create a painting on the side of her building.
“Christina approached me to paint the mural in June 2017, right after I had an art exhibition at Magnetic Gallery in Fort Collins. It was out of the blue. She is a photographer, and we met through a mutual artist-designer friend around 2010 or 2011. I had hired her to photograph a dress I created for Art Wear Fashion Week that year — and they are wonderful photos, and after that we would follow each other on social media, but when she reached out in 2017 it was a complete surprise. She said, ‘The piece I wanted to buy from your art show was sold, but how would you like to mural my building?’”
The Gressiwick (a building that was once home to Studio Vino) is now the home and business establishment of photographer Christina Gressiana and musician, Vi Wickham — and of course, the building is cleverly named after them.
“Vi and Christina are artists themselves, musician and photographer respectively, are very involved in the Loveland community in both local government and community service and are big idea thinkers. They wanted to create a big, positive impact in the community, and saw the Gressiwick as a way to channel that impact. It is Christina’s photography studio, as well as a venue and art space. Even though the interior is still being renovated, the Gressiwick has already hosted traveling musicians and is currently an exhibition space for the Loveland Art Studio Tour,” Hamilton continued.
Commissioned by Gressiana, Wickham, and The Visual Arts Commission, the mural took almost a year from conception to completion and about 30 days to paint with the help of two of Hamilton’s colleagues, Tom and Rachel Herrera. Even though Hamilton still adds touches to the it from time to time, the mural was officially finished on July 20th, 2018.
On November 9th, the city of Loveland will present a dedication plaque for the mural. An exhibition of Hamilton’s artwork will be inside the Gressiwick building for anyone who is interested in purchasing her work.
“Art is part of storytelling, and stories are what make accessible and allow us to understand and internalize it. Visual art is one of the many languages we have to communicate those stories. Art is an echo of humanity.”