Edie Harper was the wife of acclaimed illustrator Charley Harper, but she had an artistic life of her own—something the art world is only recently coming around to noticing. To that end, ArtWorks has added an Edie mural, Crazy Cat/Crazy Quilt, to its 2017 lineup.
True to the couple’s artistic partnership, it sits just a few blocks north from the Walnut Street mural based on Charley’s Homecoming (Blue Birds). To Charley fans, Edie’s designs will seem familiar, if way more cat-centric. “Her work was more whimsical,” says Project Manager Derek Toebbe. “She was responding to the lighter side of daily life as an artist and gardener and pet owner. I think she maybe had more fun with it.” But if you thought creating an Edie mural was just fun and games and slapping paint on a wall, a summertime stint on Toebbe’s crew would set you straight. “It’s 60 percent a math problem and 40 percent an art project,” he explains. There’s also a construction site vibe, with ArtWorks Youth Apprentices climbing scaffolding, snapping chalk lines, plotting on a grid, using levels, and measuring everything. Says Toebbe: “The paint is just the icing on the cake.”