Displayed on a five-story building on State Street in Downtown Binghamton is a brand new mural full of adventurous colors and vibrant imagery. It’s impossible to miss and worthy of its place on one of the busiest streets in Binghamton.
Work on the mural took 25 days this past summer, by an artist just as adventurous as the mural itself. The artist’s name is Danaé Brissonnet, a self-described nomad, who brought her talent to Binghamton through a series of murals. Brissonnet found the project by applying for a grant funded by the New York State Department of State — started by the Broome County Arts Council (BCAC) and Broome County Department of Planning and Economic Development. The program, called the iDistricts Creative Placemaking Projects, involves artists working on murals all around Johnson City, Endicott and Binghamton. The goal is for 28 mural and mosaic pieces to be created in these cities within a three-year time period.
Brissonnet, 30, was supported by Chrissy Purso, owner of The Rathskeller Pub and Sake Tumi buildings, who gave her both an apartment and a place to store paints. Another big help was Brissonnet’s mother, Daphne Brissonnet, who served as a assistant in the painting of the mural. Brissonnet also found comfort in Binghamton’s emptiness in the summer, though the weather was her only obstacle.
“I liked that there was not a lot of people,” Brissonnet said. “It was calm and almost relaxing. But the wall was tough because it was directly in the sun.”
Brissonnet began her art career after leaving her home in Quebec, Canada at 18 years old, then traveling around Latin America for years. In Matagalpa, Nicaragua, she won a mural competition hosted by a gallery she was working at. Brissonnet found the experience to be game-changing not just for her passion for art but for traveling as well.
“I liked the way I shared [it] with the people, and the way it was so quick and beautiful and easy to get in touch with people by art, and by painting in such a small town,” Brissonnet said. “That’s the way I want to travel and share with people I meet.”
Brissonnet described her latest piece as representation of her own life, as an artist constantly traveling to new places, but also said it related to one of Binghamton’s eccentricities — carousels.
“For me traveling a lot and being always on the go, you become like a merry-go-round,” Brissonnet said. “I had a recurring dream of making a head like that, and when I heard Binghamton is the carousel town, I was like, ‘That’s perfect.’”
Dreams are a major part of Brissonnet’s art, along with historical facts and information about the location she is working in. She finds that dreams are a way to conceptualize art and connect to children in the area. Brissonnet believes herself to be a child at heart, and aims to transfer that sentiment to the children who see her work.
“People will come and ask, ‘What does it mean?’ and I say, ‘Bring your kids they will know,’” Brissonnet said.
Coinciding with murals is another passion of Brissonnet’s — puppetry. As a lover of sculpting, she found a puppetry-performing arts theater community in Vermont named “Bread & Puppet.” She began to do puppet show tours all around Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Brissonnet is constantly on the move, leaving her mark all around the world. Her next piece will be in West Warren in Detroit, Michigan, where her mural is currently in progress. There is no doubt her newest work will be just like the murals she has made all her life — a profound portrayal of imagination and a sense of a close community.