Commission: JW Marriott Washington, DC

Kelly M O’Brien,  Playing With Fire-No. 81  (diptych, detail) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

Kelly M O’Brien, Playing With Fire-No. 81 (diptych, detail) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

We recently completed a new commission for a project in my hometown of Washington, DC! The commission consisted of 9 new originals, including three diptychs of a DC map-inspired piece.

I really enjoyed sketching ideas, looking closely at maps of the city and pulling out lines of interest to invoke a loose, organic feel that still reads ‘map’ to those in the know.

Kelly M O’Brien, sketch for  Playing With Fire-No. 81  (diptych) ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.

Kelly M O’Brien, sketch for Playing With Fire-No. 81 (diptych) ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.

This is the latest of several maps I've done, all highly challenging and fun (especially this one of my hometown). The process to create one of these is rather complicated – part cartography, part enigmatology (puzzle making), part intuition!

Kelly M O’Brien, working template for  Playing With Fire-No. 81  (diptych) ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.

Kelly M O’Brien, working template for Playing With Fire-No. 81 (diptych) ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC.

The final pieces were hand-burned with Potomac River-like gold leaf to tie the diptych together. And even though we completed three sets of this one, they all ended up with interesting and nuanced differences.

Kelly M O’Brien,  Playing With Fire-No. 81  (diptych) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

Kelly M O’Brien, Playing With Fire-No. 81 (diptych) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

Kelly M O’Brien,  Playing With Fire-No. 81  (diptych) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre

Kelly M O’Brien, Playing With Fire-No. 81 (diptych) Paper, gold leaf, flame. 31 x 37 x 1.5 in | 79 x 94 x 3.8 cm. ©2019 Commissioned for JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC. Photography: Image Centre