WCVE was lucky to have such wonderful listeners share their talents for the 2018 spring mug design. After viewing and discussing over seventy submitted works, WCVE chose Colleen Phelon Hall’s creative illustration as this year’s design. Thank you to all of those who took the time to depict WCVE in creative and meaningful ways. Your listenership and support means the world to us!
The 2018 spring mug will be available at designated Mug Stop locations from April 23 - 27 during WCVE’s Spring Pledge Drive. Follow WCVE on Facebook for an update on where and when you can purchase this collectible WCVE mug.
The following interview with mug artist Colleen Phelon Hall was edited for clarity and brevity.
“I adore dogs,” Colleen Phelon Hall explained through email “and their zen-like ability to be present, offer unconditional love, and be open to joy at all times.”
When WCVE asked listeners to submit a design for the spring public radio mug, Colleen chose to combine her passions into one MUGnificent work.
As a professional artist, submitting the mug design was a fun side project and a great chance for Colleen to give back to her favorite public radio station. Recently, she’s partnered with other nonprofit organizations to create public art, including an interactive “Transforming Perspectives” mural with Senior Connections and a 8x10 foot living sculpture called “Turtle Island” for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Live Art exhibit. When it came to submitting a design for WCVE’s 2018 spring mug, Colleen looked to her artistic companions for inspiration.
WCVE: What influenced you to submit a design for the 2018 spring mug?
Colleen Phelon Hall: I have been a professional artist for over 22 years, mostly focused on residential and commercial murals. Over the last few years, I have focused on creating public art and partnering with non-profit organizations that I believe in.
I am a huge fan of WCVE and when I heard the call for submissions, I just knew I wanted to enter to put forth an idea that would hopefully appeal to many. Like me, so many Richmonders love their dogs, so I felt it was a great match to pair the imagery of our faithful dogs with the idea that WCVE is also our "trusted companion.” Especially in today’s media environment, I turn to WCVE every day knowing I will receive a thorough, trustworthy presentation of the news.
WCVE: What inspired your design?
CPH: I work from home most of the time, and tend to be in the presence of both my dog, Coconut and WCVE, and I rely on both. My 9 year old Shih Tzu, Coconut, is an incredibly loyal and trusted companion and so is WCVE! I thought, perhaps if WCVE’s new mug had dogs on it, people would recognize how much they cherish their dogs and, perhaps, be more likely to give and be loyal to WCVE.
I come from a long line of sports fans and admit that Coconut has a few t-shirts of his own. I liked the whimsical idea of the dogs rooting for WCVE. The dog in the blue shirt is in honor of Coconut. The white dog on the right with the Community Idea Stations logo is a nod to the old RCA dog.
WCVE: What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
CPH: I love seeing beauty in the small details that others might just pass by. As a professional artist, I have always sought to help bring my client’s vision to life, be it a fantastic playroom fit for a princess, or a preemie baby unit for a Norwegian hospital. Some of the projects that have been the most meaningful to me are the ones where I have transformed sterile walls into natural environments that might help delight and/or distract a child from the fact they are in a hospital or getting a chemo treatment. I hope my artwork might make someone smile or want to know more about the wildlife and environments that I highlight.
Now, with the transition to doing more public art and collaborative community projects, my favorite thing is helping others take part in making the artwork and sharing with them the joy and empowerment of exercising their creativity.
WCVE: What do you enjoy most about public media?
CPH: Public media’s news and in-depth coverage can’t be beat on radio or TV. I also love hearing diverse voices and storytelling and nobody does that better than NPR and PBS. I adore StoryCorps and credit that as my inspiration for the Senior Connections project. I get teary every Friday morning! I believe everyone has a story to tell and I love hearing people tell their truths.
WCVE: What are you looking forward to most as the new WCVE mug artist?
CPH: Well, I am thrilled and proud to be associated with WCVE as I have a great deal of respect for the important role it plays in the community to educate, entertain, and inspire. As I said, I love meeting people and hearing their stories and hope to be present at some of the Mug Stops.
Most importantly, I hope that people will respond positively to the artwork and be extra motivated to donate to WCVE!
Colleen is currently working on several children’s book ideas and an art/storytelling project focused on people’s relationships with their pets. View Colleen’s work at http://www.colleenhall.com.
Fun Fact: Colleen worked for several years with an interior designer on projects for members of the Saudi royal family.