Nature Matching System Murals


DOT Unveils First City Temporary Art Program in DUMBO, Brooklyn

Monday, February 25, 2008

Collaborative effort with DUMBO Improvement District, local artists and schoolchildren launches program to enliven and beautify streets

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and the DUMBO Improvement District unveiled today the colorful mural "Nature Matching Systems," the first installation in the DOT's Temporary Art Program, which will enliven neighborhoods by working with local artists in partnership with business improvement districts and local community organizations. The design for the mural was created by the renowned Malaysian-born artist Tattfoo Tan, who worked with 40 students aged 5-7 from nearby P.S. 307 along with 25 other neighborhood children. Together they painted hundreds of colorful panels using specialized paints matched to the colors of fruits and vegetables. The tapestry of color-8 feet high and 70 feet long-beautifies a corrugated metal fence alongside a DOT storage yard beneath the Manhattan Bridge at Front and Adams streets in DUMBO, reinforcing DOT's commitment to bring art to public spaces.

"The streets are the living room of New York City, and starting here in DUMBO-and coming soon to other neighborhoods citywide-we are transforming these rooms into galleries," said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "We are looking for new ways to beautify the streetscape through this new program and with our continued installation of sleek new newsstands and bus shelters, new public plazas, and Green Streets. With communities as our partners, we will capture the attention of passersby and help make hidden spaces like this one come alive."

The Temporary Art Program will create temporary art installations for City spaces that are in the need of aesthetic enhancement. The program is also designed to promote community interaction and lasting partnerships to create designs. The DOT intends to add five such projects each year. The DUMBO mural, which will remain in place for 11 months, was prompted by the DUMBO Improvement District, which approached the DOT last year hoping to paint a mural to be installed on the fence. The idea of an art project was born and Tattfoo Tan was selected by a panel comprised of representatives from the DOT, the DUMBO Improvement District, and the DUMBO community.

It is vitally important to us that our neighborhood remains a home for the arts for years to come,” said DUMBO Improvement District Executive Director Tucker Reed. "We hope that this project is just the first and we hope that many more artists will bring their creations out of their studios and onto our streets. We'd like the neighborhood itself to become a virtual gallery for our community and its visitors, and we hope to continue to work with community groups to do this."

Tan's concept for "Nature Matching Systems" is designed to creatively educate children about eating their fruits and vegetables. The students attended workshops where Tan asked them to select a favorite fruit or vegetable, whose color the students then painted onto panels. Each of these panels was then incorporated into the mural, containing other panels painted by Tan.
"NMS hopes to re-educate our youngsters back to healthy eating habits, but not to deprive them of the fun and experience of eating colorful real food," said Tan. "Color is such a captivating element of food, but too often it's used to make highly processed junk food, which mimics nature's intention of using color to nourish us. NMS is not only art for art's sake but it also carries a deeper social and educational value that will carry on even after the mural is gone."

"PS 307 has a strong commitment to the arts," said Principal Roberta Davenport. "My school community is thrilled that our students had the opportunity to participate in this wonderful community arts project."

Additional groups involved in the project include the DUMBO Neighborhood Association, the DUMBO Parents Organization and the d.u.m.b.o. Arts Center.


Nature Matching System mural at Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, Brooklyn, New York

NMS, 2008, temporary mural until Jan 9, 2009, 65'w x 8'h, exterior grade MDO panels, exterior quality paints, right under the Manhattan Bridge overpass on Front Street, between Adams Street and Pearl Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Commissioned by DUMBO Business Improvement District and DOT. Painted by students of PS307.

Exhibited from February 25, 2008 till August 5, 2009


Students of P.S. 307 / Dr. Daniel Hale Williams Elementary School and young residents of DUMBO are helping to paint a color square.


Nature Matching System in DUMBO had became an attraction of the neighborhood. It is the background of numerous photoshoot




Nature Matching System mural at Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York, New York

Transformation of 8th Ave Continues with one of the Largest Public Art Projects in Bus Terminal’s History.

July 17, 2008

As part of the ongoing transformation of 8th Avenue and the 42nd Street area, a new work of public art by New York artist Tattfoo Tan was unveiled today in Midtown Manhattan through a partnership between the Fashion Center Business Improvement District and the Times Square Alliance.

The giant grid of color, inspired by fresh fruits and vegetables, is one of largest public art projects ever at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is located in the Fashion District. Through the “NMS - Nature Matching System”, the thousands of daily visitors can visually learn the colors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. The vinyl mural is 13 ft high and 180 ft wide and will run in the street-level windows on 8th Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets and along 42nd Street.

“Community projects like this are a welcome addition to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and another example of our continued commitment to our neighbors,” said Steve Napolitano, Bus Terminal Manager for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “This impressive work of art will help to further integrate the Port Authority Bus Terminal into the boldly-colored and brightly-lit environment of New York City.”

The “Nature Matching System” project on the bus terminal boldly reminds New Yorkers “to take your daily dose of color.” Tattfoo Tan precisely matched the healthy colors of 88 fresh fruits and vegetables through Photoshop software into a Pantone or paint chip display system. He wrote: “The shades of color displayed at farmers’ markets are more than skin deep, reflecting the inner potential of every fruit and vegetable; intense colors might even be called nature’s nutrition labels.”

“This latest public art project is another example of the continued Renaissance of the 8th Avenue corridor,” said Barbara Randall, Executive Director of the Fashion Center BID. “The addition of a work by such a respected artist, further serves to enhance the pedestrian experience and the cultural value of the Fashion Center and Times Square areas.”

“8th Avenue is already emerging as an Avenue of Architecture, and thanks to projects like this one at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, it’s also starting to stake a claim as an Avenue of Art,” said Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins. “This is a great example of the ways in which the creative energy of both Times Square and the Fashion District is making its mark on Eighth Avenue.”


NMS, 2008, temporary mural, printed vinyl on glass window, covering one whole block of Port Authority Bus Terminal.
13 ft high and 180 ft wide. Commissioned by the Fashion Center Business Improvement District and the Times Square Alliance.



I'm pleased that my art now can be recreated by someone else at other locations. It finally had the power I intented it to have, to make it your own and make it in your own neighborhood. If you are interested to bring Nature Matching System to your own establishment or neighborhood, please contact me for permission and painting instruction.

Nature Matching System mural at ArtSpace, New Haven, Connecticut
Nature Matching System, 2011, ArtSpace, New Haven, CT

Painted by Educational Center for the Arts High School's Op Art painting class students and coordinated by Martha Lewis, Educational Curator at Artspace and Zachary Keeting

The students are, Leilany Burgos, Nicole Gossett, Lee Hulbert, Jack Kane, Tina Kvelashvili, Jovanzi Polanco,
Meghan Shannahan, Elizabeth Skalka, Alex Sorensen, Aja Suarez, Amanda Valaitis





NMS 971

Nature Matching System mural at PS971, Brooklyn
Nature Matching System, 2011, exterior grade MDO panels, exterior quality paints, PS971, Brooklyn

Painted by Sebastian Espinal, Jacquelyn Clark-Feinstein, Julian Caba-Nunez, Ivan Zheng, Hilary Lin, Amy Perea, Angie Perea, Rachel Chen, Leo Chen and coordinated by principle Ruth Stanislaus and teacher Hussain Abdullah.


Nature Matching System mural at California State University Fullerton

Photo by Michael Quinn

Acquired Taste: Food and the Art of Consumption, Fullerton, California
Curated by Alyssa Cordova and Heather Richards
California State University Fullerton, Begovich Gallery, 800 N Satte College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92834
October 29 - December 8, 2011

Painted by Emily Allen, Jason Chakravarty, Alyssa Cordova, Seth Hawkins, Joanne Mace, Kimberly McKinnis, Patricia Reed, Conception Rodriguez, Heather Richards, Brent Siddons, Allison Town


Feast: The Art of Playing with Your Food,
The New Children's Museum, San Diego, California
NMS mural, October 13, 2013 -  September 11, 2014, 31' tall x 20' wide, digitally printed adhesive vinyl


Nature Matching System at Seymour Dual language Academy, Syracuse, New York

Nature Matching System, 2014, acrylic paint on boards, Seymour Dual Language Academy, Syracuse, New York

This mural and curriculum was developed by EDU 300/600 - New Directions in Social Sculpture: Art, Food, Community at Syracuse University and taught by Marion Wilson and Tattfoo Tan

Syracuse University Students: Daniel Blaushild, Jungone Cho, Becky Cohen, Jaimeson Daley, Jason Foggie, Ryland Heagerty, Victoria Lee, Stacey Lindbloom, and Brian Luce.

Seymour Dual Language Academy Third Grade Team: Courtney Colello, Taylor Durand, Nicole Heath, Stephanie Pachon, medelina Garcia - SU Literacy Corp.

NMS mural was painted by Seymour Dual Language Academy Third Grade Students: Odlanier Andrades, Emily Aponte, Yeh dessa Arroyo, Marcel Augustono, Luis Alexis Ayala, Macih Bailey, My'Nisa Envy Cheryl Bailey, Gerardo E. Becerra, Nickolas David Bondi, Kismet Burroughs, Ali'yonna Lamarria Broadwater, Kevaughn Cannon, Felipe Carrasquillo, Andrew Jermaine Carter, Sainey Alisha Castro, Aleaneris Ceballos, Carlos Eliziel Cirino, Willmer Contreras, Saniya Cooper, Jatziel Cortes, Luis E. Cruz, Yanira Cruz, Demetria Daniels, Jove Vaughn Davis, Victor John Diabo, Felix Javier Diaz-Rodriguez, Nevaeh Frazier, Ellena Hope Galeas, Makayla Lee Gathings, Malachi Lee Gathings, Terriana Marie Gathings, Jovany Messia Gonzalez, Jada Danise Danee James, Carmen Maranyeis Jiminez, Donari Love Jones, Shannon King, Dameon Green Lynch, Christian Alexis Lugo, Abdiel Maldonado, Jariel Jose Martinez, Issac Juelz Mendez, Ly'naisha Murphy, Nautica Murray, Qui'nyah Pace, Elvis J. Pacheco-Ocasio, Luis Yadeil Parrilla Fuentes, Shaneidis Perez Pinet, Joemyl Pizarro, Naisharelys Pizarro, Elianie Kristine Qiules, Luis Ramos JR, Toddricka Marie Rice, Kimberly Nicole Rivas, Emanuel Rafet Rivera De Jesus, Luis Yariel Rodriguez Feliciano, Nicolette Rodriguez, Taysha L Rodriguez, Dorian Christopher Roller, Natasha Roman, Angelie M. Rosado, Naimah Ruffin, Lizmarie Santiago, Shayon Sessions, Markel Sholtz, Jahvel Taylor LaVar Sullivan, Yanieliz Marie Steele, Issac Taborda, Shaniece Thomas, Jaymere Tucker, Imari Williams Ta'Niyah Wilson, Niky Yang

Special thanks to: Geovanti Steward, Rebecca Jackson,Paul NoJaim, John Cardone, Melissa Gardiner, and Jillian Nakornthap

This project is made possible by: Central New York Community Foundation and 601Tully: Center for Engaged Art and Research, Syracuse University



Nature Matching System in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Nature Matching System, 2015, 47’ w x 21’h, acrylic paint on pellon, 641 Snyder Avenue at South 7 Street, Philadelphia. The tagline "Remember To Take Your Daily Dose of Colors" are translated into Karen, Nepali and Chin languages to reflects the diversity of the neighborhood.


Nature Matching System in Carmel, Indiana
An eagle scout project by Kyle Betelak, Troop 112 Carmel, Indiana.

Greetings from Carmel, Indiana. In 2012, as a parent of a student, I participated in and attended many of the Feeding the World Roundtable events at Macalester College that weekend. I was particularly moved by one speaker, an artist named Tattfoo Tan, who demonstrated for us many of his unique collaborative methods for artistically teaching about community gardening and healthy eating. I went home to our small city just north of Indianapolis, and I shared Tattfoo's ideas with various school district groups. Although it took several years to get done, a large "Nature Matching System" mural has been installed in they Carmel Clay Schools' Plots to Plates Organic Community Garden as part of an Eagle Scout project done by a local teen. This beautiful, creative, and informational mural is double sided, can be seen from the road and the garden, and is used as a station to teach elementary students during their field trips to the garden. -Margot Gibson