‘It was a shrine:’ Local artist remembers City Blue Imaging in a digital miniature

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester’s favorite digital miniature artist, Mathison Rust, is back at it again. This time, he decided to focus his attention on a business that befell tragedy on Christmas: City Blue Imagining.

MORE| City Blue Imaging to reopen in temporary office after Christmas Eve fire

“I think we’re all really sympathetic to all small businesses, with everything going on this year,” Rust said. “This was a building that was really iconic in a way it’s a business one that touched many different organizations… This building really becomes much more than a building. Once it becomes a public art space and Sean Dunwoody’s murals really celebrated all of the ideals that I value myself.”

City Blue Imaging burned out in a large fire on Christmas Day.

Those values are a love of Rochester, an appreciation and cultivation of interaction with art, and giving the community a space to commune and communicate. Rust says those are even more important in the era of social distancing.

“It was a shrine,” he said. “I felt a certain call to kind of memorialize it. It really deserved that.”

“My approach is basically the same approach you would take if you were to make a caricature of a person,” Rust said. “You know, the highlights, certain aspects of the building… Really what makes this building stand out were, were the murals. I was very fortunate that because it was such a destination, it was such a popular place where people went to, I was able to get photographic references online through Instagram and Google Street View.”

His work caught the attention of the muralist himself, who publicly gave props to Rust on Twitter. Rust says the gesture meant a lot to him, calling Dunwoody a local celebrity, and an arts ambassador.

“There’s few people that when you think about Rochester public art,” he said. “Shawn, the work he’s done is, is truly been incredible… All those ideals that we touched on before, love of community, love of your neighbor, love of yourself.”

Rust says that none of his current digital miniatures are in print at the moment — as he used 2020 as a time to do some self-reflection — but he says that his prints will be one of the many bright spots of 2021.

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