Erin Guido: The Story Behind the Stencils

If you’ve spent any time around the city of Cleveland and its surrounding neighborhoods, chances are you’ve happened upon the brightly beautiful and uplifting public art of Erin Guido. She and another Cleveland-based artist, Joe Lanzilotta, are the two creative minds behind the “Love Doves” mural, painted in 2017 on the Shoreway retaining wall at West 25th St. in Ohio City. Other outdoor murals by Guido can be found in the Tremont and Hingetown neighborhoods, in addition to her colorful art installations hanging in the Rocket Mortgage Field House and May Company building downtown.

Guido works on the "Love Doves" mural in Ohio City in 2017. [Pickled Pin-Up Photography]

This past summer, we were so excited to have Guido partner with us on a public art stencil project to help us announce our rebranding from Ideastream to Ideastream Public Media.

“Ideastream approached me about the project because they were embarking on a new brand identity and they wanted a local artistic partner to help collaborate and get the word out to the community and involve different neighborhoods and different community members,” Guido said. “And I was really glad to help.”

The stencils, designed to be a temporary public art project, were spray-chalked on sidewalks and walls around different neighborhoods to not only help get the word out about Ideastream Public Media’s new identity, but also to unite communities together through art.

Guido and her husband, John Paul Costello, tested out the stencils with spray chalk paint in their driveway. [Erin Guido]

Guido designed the stencils digitally using her signature shapes and letters, along with including Ideastream Public Media’s new logo.

“I worked with my husband, [artist] John Paul Costello, on ‘how can we now take these really colorful images and make them into stencils?’” Guido explained. After some experimenting with different sizes and paints, the stencil designs were then cut from wood with a laser cutter.

A set of stencils in-process at Guido's studio. [Erin Guido]

The stencils feature phrases such as “I am bold.” “I am inspired.” “I am engaged.” “I am creative.”

“I think the phrases are a way of describing the community members that enjoy Ideastream, and it’s also a way of describing the type of programming and information that Ideastream provides,” Guido said. “So it’s a way of bridging Ideastream as an organization to the audience it serves.”

[Erin Guido]

And much like we at Ideastream Public Media strive to be a connection to the local arts community, Guido loves that her public art can bring people together as well.

“It’s an honor to do stuff out in the public,” she said. “And I love public art that's out in the community versus gallery artwork, because I think once you put something in the public, it becomes everyone's. Whether someone knows who did it or doesn't know who did it, they can see it and it's theirs and they can interpret it how they want, and so it can change depending on the viewer. It’s almost like a collaboration with the community when you have public art in the public realm. It's pretty cool.”

[Erin Guido]

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