Jamaican-born artist Michael Talbot has completed a 1,000-square-foot mural outside of Deano’s Pasta in East Somerville, Massachusetts. The mural features two hands kneading dough and their arms become long swirls of pasta. It was designed to highlight the fact that the noodles at Deano’s Pizza are handmade from recipes that have been passed from one generation to another at the four-generation shop.
Talbot, 27, completed the mural in September 2021 with the support of the Somerville Arts Council and its sponsor the Mass Cultural Council, East Somerville Main Streets, Deano’s Pasta, and individual donors. Talbot wanted the focus of the mural to be their love of pasta and how it is a part of their life. The owners, Hala Matarazzo and her husband, brainstormed with Talbot to create a painting with details that emphasize the authentic nature of the shop. Hala Matarazzo said that the mural was perfect for communicating who the owners are and what they do.
The Deano’s Pizza mural was Talbot’s first try at creating such a large work of art. He described it as a learning experience, citing the need to work on an electric lift 20 feet in the air and swaying in the breeze while using a paint roller in the hot sun.
Talbot grew up in Jamaica and was always interested in inspiring and communicating to others through his art. He migrated to the United States in 2012 to pursue his dream of becoming an artist and earned a BFA degree in illustration and graphic design with a minor in animation at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has been working as a freelance artist in Boston since his graduation and has been involved with a broad range of exhibitions and projects.
The artist relies on his life experiences to express emotion in his work. He tries to tell a story in each one of his pieces, drawing from everything he sees, from his memories, and from daily happenings in his life to make his art. Talbot says that Richard Nattoo, his best friend from high school, is his chief source of inspiration. The two attended the same art classes at Ardenne High School in Kingston, Jamaica, and it was watching Nattoo constantly improve in the art field that gave Talbot the motivation to push himself to improve as well.
Talbot believes in the interconnection of all art, and while his passion for storytelling is evident in his work, he also draws inspiration from his knowledge in many areas of study. When possible, he uses the cultural background of his early years in Jamaica to improve and infuse the project. He often combines digital and traditional media in his art pieces.
Talbot views himself as just a typical artist who enjoys what he does and wants to make an impression on another’s life. He believes that it is necessary to have many diverse voices in the world to highlight the things that are important to people. His desire is to be a voice that soothes and motivates others to consider the wonders of life. In an interview with WGBH, Talbot said, “I seek to be the light that helps them to look forward and look beyond, to the joys and the happiness that can, and will be; to hang in the balance of reality and wonder.”
Photo – Talbot’s Art