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Globe-trotting Artist paints on walls, gives children joy

USA artist Phillip Martin will never be confused again about the colors of the Estonian flag.

With a dozen three-quarter liter cans of acrylic paint, the artist and dozens of children changed twelve meters of the school walls. In just one week, the blue-grey corridor has a much more cheerful look. Phillip Martin has traveled the world for years. His art now has brought him to Estonia in a joint project with the students at the Tallina Tehnikagümnaasium in Mustamäe. Together they covered two colorful walls.

Sponsor donates paint supplies

The wall murals started two years ago, Martin explained. "I have a website for teachers and students with my free clipart. They can use the art in their lessons and homework. One day I received an e-mail from an Aids daycare in Namibia. They wanted to paint murals with my artwork on the wall," he said.

Martin wanted to participate in the venture so in the summer he traveled to Africa and stayed for three weeks. The following summer he was invited to Romania to paint a mural at an orphanage. In the economic downturn, Martin has changed his career from teaching art to full time artist. He's now painting murals around the world.

"It is amazing how well the students have done. The children were very serious about the work." Martin was pleased with the help he received at Tallinna Tehnikagümnaasium. "I had so many helpers that I myself didn't have to paint at times. I stood back and gave instructions to the students who painted."

The school art teacher supported the project, allowing her students to help with the wall during their class time. However, some enthusiastic students continued to work after the school day was completed.

Class 11 B student Vegard Kmito was still painting in the corridor around four in the afternoon. When asked why, he said, "I like it."

Although the work was well organized and he was able to do much in a short while, there was also a misadventure with the colors of the flag. After seeing a cocktail named after Estonia with a blue liqueur at the bottom of the glass, a dark black coffee in the middle and topped with cream, Martin thought the colors of the Estonian flag were white, black and blue from top to bottom. (They are actually blue, black and white.) The colors of the flag were completely painted before anyone pointed out the mistake to him. The problem was corrected and there is no trace of the mistake on the wall. "It was then that I realized in order to be a true Estonian, you had to sling your head back, tip that drink completely upside down, and then drink it like a real patriot," laughed the artist.

The project moves on to Africa

-- This week in Tallinna Tehnikagümnaasium the American artist Phillip Martin completed his latest mural.

-- The mural in Estonia is the seventh of his projects. His next murals will be painted in the Republic of South Africa and Swaziland. He hopes to return to Estonia as well as paint murals in Latvia and Lithuania.

-- In addition, Martin has previously painted the walls of schools, orphanages, refugee shelters and centers for burn victims. So far, his murals are in Belgium, Namibia, Romania, and Albania.

-- Martin has worked in international schools with students of all ages for more than 20 years. He has been employed by schools in the United States, Belgium, Zambia, the Philippines and Morocco.

-- In addition to wall paintings and teaching, he developed book covers and when her returns back home to the U.S. a project with book illustrations is waiting for him.

loosely translated (well, to the best of my abilities) with the help of Google Translate
Copyright 2010 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.