Mark T Smith

Valley Bank Mural Commission 2023

Vallery Bank commissioned this large mural for their brand new Head Quarters in Morristown NJ. The Mural was painted traditionally as a work on canvas, measuring 60×23 inches. This painting was then digitized and displayed in the lobby in a format that is 3x the size of the actual painting. In its final form, the piece will be animated as well.

Harmony of Humanity and Progress: Valley Bank’s Guiding Hands”

The focal point of the mural’s composition is a large hand that is floating over an urban landscape. The hand is supported by four pillars, and there is a yellow triangle on the palm of the hand representing the logo treatment for Valley Bank. The hand is the metaphor for relationships/humanity. There’s also a seed on the palm of the hand, which radiates a creative energy into the larger composition. 

The hand is supported by a ring and pillars which is meant to mimic an element of floating classical architecture. This represents solidity, and structure and removes it from the mural timeline to a degree – this lives outside time. On the extreme right side of the composition, the ring/classical structure that supports the hand is growing a natural element/tree both to show support for environmental concerns, but also to show the maturation of the seed into this strong tree / natural element. This is in contrast to the cityscape and maze in other parts of the composition. There are multiple versions with varying emphasis this part of the narrative. There are some versions of the sketch where the tree is made in part from the pillars and there is the sketch that only features this as the entire composition. 

The hand is supporting the growth of the seed over a maze of complexity below it. Across the full composition in the mid-ground and background, the complexity of the maze morphs into and out of a cityscape. It starts as simple graphic elements on the left, then forms into a maze, into a cityscape, back to a maze and back to simplification again on the extreme right as a line drawing of Morristown’s most recognizable visual features / small town. This represents the physical environment of the customers of the bank, and also the journey that commercial entities go through, and the maze of roadblocks that Valley Bank can assist them in avoiding along the way. There are other industrial components to the design; including container ship on the horizon, commercial aircraft flying over a bridge and highways, Rivers, roads, walkways, factories, manufacturing, office buildings etc. Overall, it creates the entire ecosystem that the customers of Valley Bank are operating in with Valley Bank continually guiding the way forward. There are small ladders between the layers in the sketch, these represent upward pathways or mobility. 

Also, across the composition, moving from left to right, there are eight hands – these represent the assistance the Valley Bank customers receive from the eight identity roles in relationship banking. Each of these hands is present at a juncture in the growth or transformation of the scene. There are also 8 yellow triangles across the composition and in one of the alternate compositions, there are 8 pillars. I think that the repetition of this enhances the brand messaging with a visual context. 

You can find additional information about his commission here: and

About Mark T. Smith

Mark T. Smith is a celebrated American painter. He is best known for his colorful, complex paintings and his passion for the application of art into the fabric of everyday life.

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