The recreation of this Fred Ross Mural has been an amazing journey …
A native and lifetime resident of Saint John, Fred Ross painted the original mural between 1946 and 1948, completing it on his 21st birthday. The $700 commission he earned enabled him to visit Mexico, where he viewed the works of Diego Rivera, Frieda Kahlo and other acclaimed muralists. The young Ross impressed the famous Mexican Muralist who advised him to paint what he knows. Ross dedicated his life to celebrating the beauty he found living in New Brunswick.
During the course of his long, prolific and distinguished career Dr. Ross has painted six murals, countless portraits and numerous other figurative works. His paintings have been included in more than 80 solo and group exhibitions and are held in collections across North America. Dr. Ross is a member of the Order of Canada, the Order of New Brunswick and the Royal College of Art.
Amy Ash holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Brunswick. She is a member of the Third Space Gallery has worked as an outreach co-ordinator of the Saint John Arts Centre.
Sara Griffin, who served as studio manager for the mural project, is a graduate of the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design and holds a bachelor of education from UNB. Her wide-ranging experience includes mural painting, print making and teaching portfolio students at the Saint John Arts Centre.
Fred Willar, who was a student of Fred Ross at Saint John Vocational School in the 1950s, is an accomplished painter and muralist in his own right. Two of his murals can be seen in the library and the cafeteria at Harbourview High School in Saint John. A colleague of Mr. Ross’s Willar was a valuable consultant as the black and white drawings were recreated to capture the essence of the orgininal color mural.
Sara Griffin: A Reflection of the Fred Ross Mural Recreation Project
Sara Griffin was selected as one of the painters for the recreation project. Working with Fred Ross, Fred Willar and Amy Ash, Sarah devoted six months to the project.
“The recreation of this Fred Ross Mural has been an amazing journey, one that has been monumental, not only in scale (which is over 300 square feet), but also the historical aspect of the work that commemorates the fallen soldiers in WWII, and of course working with the legendary force that we know and love, Fred Ross. The painting team was very conscious of recreating the work to the best of our abilities in order to adequately pay tribute to all aspects of this project.
It has certainly been an honour to be a part of the Mural recreation, and it is no doubt that all members of the painting team have not only become stronger painters, but also more aware of the history of mural and portrait painting, and New Brunswick’s art history. Knowing that Fred Ross used the $700 he made of the creation of the original mural to travel to Mexico where he met Diego Rivera really heightens the intrigue of the story surrounding this work of art, and places everyone involved within that exciting history, and for that we feel very privileged.
One of the most important aspects of this project for me has been getting to know provincial art icons, such as Fred Ross, Fred Willar, John Leroux, and William Forrestall. Their support, mentorship and resourcefulness has provided me an education all unto itself. Many thanks are owed to them.”
– Sara Griffin