Carmel High School Senior Caroline Hammonds on Creating Art For The Community

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October 2021

Some of you may have already passed through the City Center Drive tunnel and have seen the spectacular mural that is painted on the inside of the tunnel. This mural, by Carmel High School (CHS) senior Caroline Hammonds, is the first of four murals that will be designed and installed in the Monon Greenway pedestrian tunnels. The murals are a collaborative public art initiative between the Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation and CHS Art Department. Hammonds’ mural is titled “Ethereal Rapsody.”

Carmel Senior Caroline Hammonds

A Promising Young Artist

I had the extreme pleasure of speaking with Hammonds—a National Art Honor Society student—who proved to be an excellent conversationalist as well as a talented artist. We spoke about the genesis of the project, what inspired her mural design that she submitted and was selected by the Carmel’s Public Art Advisory Committee and what she plans to do post-graduation from CHS.

Once selected by the advisory committee, Hammonds went straight to work on a more detailed conceptual guide of her proposed mural.

“I hopped on my tablet and used an Apple Pencil and Procreate—a drawing program for the iPad,” Hammonds shared. “I put eight-and-a-half hours into the conceptual guide and was very happy with how it turned out.”

Hammonds then collaborated with John-Michael Polley, who is a 2009 CHS graduate, and Westfield resident Jordan Elsey to work on the vectorization of the design. Hammonds explained that this “digital process” allows an image/project to be scaled at any size without losing the quality of the image.

“We had to vectorize the whole project on Adobe Illustrator, which was definitely a learning experience,” Hammonds added. “And then we had to basically redraw the entire design with new dimensions that would fit the dimensions for the actual tunnel.”

Creating a Piece of Art for the Entire Community to Enjoy

Members of the CHS National Arts Honors Society and Hammonds went to work on painting the mural on Aug. 22, 2021, and ““Ethereal Rapsody” was unveiled to the community on Sept. 27, 2021.

Carmel Senior Caroline Hammonds

When asked how it made Hammonds feel to be at the unveiling and to be interviewed on her mural, she humbly replied, “It was crazy, to be honest. I’ve said this before—I still can’t believe it. It is an extraordinary honor to be able to display my art in my community. My goal is to spread a feeling and to inspire other people. I didn’t want my art to just be for artists, or for musicians, or for critics. I wanted it to be for everybody, and I want it to be as versatile and timeless as possible.”

Carmel Senior Caroline Hammonds

Hammonds was deeply inspired by Indiana’s epic and breathtaking sunsets as well as by classical music and one specific contemporary song titled “Girl of the Year” by Beach House that she listened to as she created her design.

“Music played a really big part for me in the designing of this piece,” Hammonds echoed. “Music definitely affects the way that I do my art.

Pursuing a Career in Art and Graphic Design

Hammonds has applied to several colleges with renowned art departments and programs, including the University of Cincinnati, where she would like to be accepted into the university’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

“I definitely want to pursue a career in design,” Hammonds expressed. “The DAAP program is amazing—it gives you real work experience, and I really love what they have to offer there.”

Fans of Hammonds’ art can follow her on Instagram at keeping_it_creative, where they can also purchase pieces of her work on her Redbubble.com shop.