Dana-Farber Is Creating an Animated Mural for Its Patients
In February, patients visiting the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana-Farber will be able to interact with a new animated mural designed and painted by two local artists. The mural, called Jimmy’s Junction, features 50 colorful and original characters that are described as more or less hybrids of people, animals, food, and even things—like a dragon on crutches kicking a soccer ball, or a sassy fire flame fluttering her eye lashes.
“We wanted to create a space that was inviting for sick kids, and we wanted to give a different look and feel to the pediatric space,” says Usha Thakrar, director of clinical programs at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic.
The large mural (it’s a massive 22’ wide by 6’ tall) was illustrated by Bren Bataclan and animated by Chris Stacy. “We wanted to make humanoid looking characters with a whimsical odd look,” Bataclan says. “But we also wanted characters that the kids can relate to. So some are with their parents, some are in wheelchairs or casts, and some are out playing with the other characters.”
Unlike most murals that are drawn on a blank wall, this interactive mural will be projected on a large glass that has a digital screen installed behind it. The characters move on the screen by using motion sensors. This allows the characters to run back and forth across the screen and interact with patients.
“The animation itself is done on a flash computer program,” Stacy says. “I take Bren’s characters, then draw hundreds of pictures of it in different movements. This way, when they move fast enough, the human eye sees a smooth movement.”
By using this type of technology to create the mural, the characters can come out and live on the screen for a short amount of time, and then disappear.
“By only having a few characters on the screen at a time, the patients will see new characters every time they are in the waiting room and not get bored,” Thakrar says. To go along with the mural, the hospital also created a story book of the characters that will be displayed in the waiting room. “This way, the patients can learn more about the characters that are on the screen and even learn about the ones not on the screen,” he adds.
Below, photos of Bataclan drawing the stand in mural featuring four of the original, soon to be animated characters: