The Utah State Capitol Building underwent a major restoration and seismic upgrade beginning in 2004. Part of this upgrade included adding 4 new murals to accompany the historical murals located in the Senate and House of Representative chambers. After an extensive selection process, my fellow artist, Keith Bond, and I were awarded the commission to paint 2 murals each.
Press Release, January 17, 2007
"Artists Chosen to paint Utah State Capitol Murals."
Two Utah artists have been selected by the Utah State Capitol Preservation Board to paint the four murals for the Senate and House of Representative Chambers in the renovated Utah State Capitol Building.
Keith Bond of River Heights will be painting two murals in the Senate Chamber and David Koch of Richmond will be painting two murals in the House of Representative Chamber.
Koch received a BA in Art from Utah State University and has studied with professional artists. David exhibits his art in galleries in Bountiful, Salt Lake City, and St. George, Utah, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. His work is included in many local and national collections including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary Michael Leavitt, Zions Bank, and the Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Koch, who is known for his historical paintings, says that he enjoys the process of recreating a historical scene from research to costuming. "The historical paintings seem to come to life as I paint them. It gives me a feeling that I am experiencing the event. I hope the viewer will also have the same experience. I consider it a great honor to be chosen for such a historical project." says Koch, "I feel the responsibility to create a piece of art that will communicate to viewers for years to come."
In November 2007, the Utah State Capitol Building will complete its historic Capitol Restoration and Base Isolation Project. The murals will be unveiled during a public open house celebrating the completion of the project and the re-opening of the "People's House".
Seraph Young Mural
This mural is about two windows; Two windows of opportunity that were opened in Utah history. The first window was opened in the Salt Lake City Hall on Valentine's Day in 1870. Twenty-three-year-old Seraph Young was the first woman to cast her ballot in the Utah Territories and quite possibly in boundaries more far-reaching. This municipal vote took place without much fanfare or publicity and was short-lived. This window was closed in 1887 when Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Anti polygamy Act.
The second window of women's suffrage would be opened largely due to the efforts of three visionary women: Emmeline B. Wells, Sarah M. Kimball, and Emily Richards. These women championed this cause for women by climbing the staircase of adversity, prejudice, historical culture, the opposition of top state leaders, and national government and resistance to change. The challenge to open this second window was accomplished one hard-fought step at a time. Today we must climb these same stairs in order to improve the quality of life now and to provide a better future for our children.
After three weeks of research, I was familiar with the history of the Utah suffrage and the role of the notable women who were involved. I wanted to create a mural that depicted the literal scene as well as the symbolic meaning of the events that shaped the future.
I wanted to depict a location with a view of two windows. Fortunately, the original building where Seraph Young voted still existed, and better yet, had been moved and renovated. The Council Hall, now located on Utah's Capitol Hill, was the very building where these historic events took place.
A 24"x 30" sketch was created using approximate poses and costumes.
After the sketch was approved I began additional research in order to get the details accurate. This included furniture, costume, and interior research.
Hundreds of photos were taken to capture each element of the sketch. These photos were assembled to recreate the sketch.
A large piece of canvas was then stretched over a custom-built easel. Gridlines were drawn and the sketch was transferred to the primed canvas.
The painting process took about two months.
The mural was then taken off of the easel and then taken to the Capitol Building for installation. A final varnish coat was then applied and allowed to dry.
Engen Brothers Mural
Utah's skiing history is full of pioneers who brought skiing from a pastime for a few miners to a sport enjoyed by millions today. But no others stand out more than Alf Engen and his two brothers Sverre and Corey.
The Engen brothers came to Utah in the 1930s to compete in ski-jump competitions sponsored by the Utah Ski Club and other ski promoters. Many record-setting jumps at Ecker Hill and other locations turned the world's eye to Utah as a premier location for skiing.
The vision of these men enabled them to literally use materials from the declining mining industry, which had been the staple of Utah's economy for so many years, to build ski jumps and other ski equipment that would help launch Utah's future economy.
Alf, Sverre, and Corey had the vision which motivated them to work hard to remove obstacles in order to take advantage of the snow that the clouds of opportunity would most certainly bring in the future. Our legislators of today have the same responsibilities as these earlier pioneers.
The Engen brothers were also instrumental in changing skiing from a spectator sport to a sport that could be enjoyed by all. Through Alf's efforts with the Forest Service Alta Ski Resort and many other resorts in Utah and Idaho provide many with a place to enjoy skiing. Alf's love for the sport and for the youth resulted in the Deseret Ski School which introduced skiing to thousands of kids, kids who would represent the future opportunities that would come to Utah including the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
This mural symbolizes the facts and ideals of these great men with the intent to inspire each of us to reach for the same qualities. These qualities will enable us to be prepared for the great opportunities that are certain to come.
A visit to Ecker Hill helped to inspire the concept for this mural.
A 24"x 30" sketch that was presented to the Art Selection Committee.
Once the sketch was approved, models were photographed in correct costume and position.
The photos were then assembled into a detailed compostition.
Custom easels were constructed and the canvas was stretched over them. The sketch was then drawn onto the canvas.
The painting process took about 2 months.
The mural was then taken to the Capitol Building and installed. A final coat of varnish was applied and allowed to dry.