before and afterDIY

Before & After: Barc Gets a Happy Makeover

by Erin Austen Abbott

Brooklyn-based illustrator Hyesu Lee set out to turn a bare wall into a happy place for her local animal shelter, Barc. “Actually, I live nearby Barc shelter and went there every weekend or weekday, after work, to volunteer to walk a dog because I’m a huge animal lover,” Hyesu shares. “However, I didn’t plan on adopting any dogs. And there was this dog, Dutch, that we took out for a walk a lot from Barc. One weekend Vinny, who runs Barc, told us to take him only for the weekend if we want. And ‘only for the weekend’ [became until] now — we ended up adopting him and now he is a beloved member of our family.”

Hyesu continues, “So I went back to Barc recently and volunteered to do [a] mural for them, hoping it helps all the dogs/cats find their ‘furever’ home.” Known for her really fun illustrations for such clients as Toyota, Boston Globe, Blue Moon Brewing Co., Dr. Jart+, Chobani and many more, I’d say Hyesu certainly accomplished her goal, bringing new life into the shelter. Click through the slide show to see her step-by-step process. —Erin 

Photography by Hyesu Lee

Barc for Design*Sponge
The wall at Barc, as Hyesu started painting the mural. Step one is spacing the starting points on the wall, so as to get the art laid out correctly.
Barc Before & After for Design*Sponge
Progress being made to the mural, as it gets the first of its illustrations.
Barc Before & After for Design*Sponge
Action shot of Hyesu, hard at work, to make a happier place for all the animals in Barc's care.
Barc Before & After for Design*Sponge
Outline of the mural is taking shape, as we start to get a larger visual of the final piece.
Barc Before & After for Design*Sponge
The text is now being put into place to complete the illustration.
Barc for Design*Sponge
Hyesu in action, working on her larger-than-life-sized wall mural at Barc in Brooklyn, NY.
Barc for Design*Sponge
Complete! Barc just got a punch of happiness.
Barc Before & After for Design*Sponge
A close-up of the work by Hyesu, for Barc.
Barc Before & After for Design*Sponge
Another close-up of the mural. Love and cats... so much truth.
Barc for Design*Sponge
Hyesu posing with a few of the dogs looking for forever homes and her completed mural.
Barc for Design*Sponge
A few snippets from around Brooklyn-based animal shelter, Barc.
Barc Before & After for Design*Sponge
Dutch, Hyesu's dog that she adopted from Barc, surrounded by a little illustration.
Barc Before & After for Design*Sponge
Hyesu illustrated a few of the dogs from the shelter that are still looking for homes or have since been adopted.

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  • I love Barc, I love this mural, and I love the illustration at the very end! Speaking of, the doggo formerly known as Drew has been adopted as well—by me! He is my favorite floofball.

  • This is über-cute, lovely, beautiful, inspiring, wonderful – and all those pets waiting (on the wall and in the shelter) for their new forever home….. Thank you to this outstanding artist and her work. What a great way to pay forward!!!!

  • Wonderful seeing how such an ambitious project unfolds, and the result is just magnificent. Full of feeling and fun. And what a backdrop for adoption day photos!

    As to Bree’s query, “why the poop?” Because, it’s an inescapable part of pet love-and-care, plus it’s just plain humorous. I’m a pet sitter/dog walker and use the poop emoji in texts to clients all the time!

  • I enjoyed reading this story and seeing this work. Very uplifting. Also happy to see such a cute shot of Dutch, that lucky dog.