New York's Capital Region was colonized by the Dutch (Colonie is the biggest municipality across the river) and Troy was one of the expanded settlements where the VanDerHeyden clan dropped their roots to build a few farms on the river. Troy, an apt name for a river-based tradepost, attracted settlers from as far away as New Hampshire to prosper in this soon-to-be industrial city. Enter Ebenezer and Samuel Wilson, two such men who made that long-ass trek on foot (granted, you couldn’t just take a bus or an uber, but it’s still respectable considering they came from a wealthy family) to lay the foundation of their new lives in Troy. The brothers Wilson bought what is now Prospect Park, and almost immediately set up shop by disrupting two markets simultaneously. Most buildings in Troy (especially settler homes) and all of the Patroonship for that matter, were made of wood, as bricks were being imported from the Netherlands and only the most wealthy could afford them. Uncle Sam, as he’d later become more well-known, used locally-sourced materials and production methods to develop Troy’s first brickworks, exponentially lowering the cost of bricks, and allowing for the construction of so many buildings which still stand to this day.
This piece was fully designed, manufactured, assembled, and installed here in Troy, in a parallel to the manufacturing this city was once known for. One of the original Uncle Sam bricks was scanned into the computer and converted to a 3d printable design via the means of CAD software. Once the measurements of the mural were decided, the design was scaled to 17.5 feet by 7.5 feet, with the color contrast between the two areas being provided by two color palettes of light and dark. From there, it was a 'simple' process of printing tiles for 7 months, while tracking the color usage in a spreadsheet to ensure no color was too prevalent. A fundraiser was held in order to have a custom name on one of the bricks, with the opportunity of having them displayed at the bottom, middle, or top of the mural. Finally, the brick tiles were set onto aluminum panels with various adhesives, and the panels were bolted to the side of the building, with minimal conflicts between the digital design and the reality of a 221-year-old brick wall.
From Troy To Troy