The Artist Behind the Pool of Dreams

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The Pool of Dreams, also known as the largest hand-painted pool in the world, is looking for a home.

Artist Sergio Furnari had been hand-painting pool tiles for years before he came up with the idea for the Pool of Dreams in 2005. The vision of a colossal hand-painted pool grew in his mind until three years ago, when he began working on the prototype. Today, Furnari's dreams are coming to fruition.

"All the tiles are literally painted — we're talking more or less a couple of football fields of tiles," Furnari says. "We're trying to find a location where this thing can come alive. I got offers from Dubai, but we're still nailing down all the details."

These things don't happen on a whim; there's always a backstory. The Pool of Dreams isn't the first pool Furnari's painted. In fact, it's not the only major art project he's completed. Furnari initially made a name for himself as the artist behind the statue "Lunchtime on a Skyscraper — A Tribute to America's Heroes." The statue can be found on top of Furnari's truck and is displayed wherever he parks in the city.

After that success, Furnari turned to pool-painting as an artistic focus. He's painted hundreds of privately-owned pools around the United States and the world, but this project is meant to be his crowning achievement. He describes The Pool of Dreams as the "Sistine Chapel of Pools."

The tiles are made of porcelain or ceramic; Furnari is partial to porcelain as it's less susceptible to ice damage. Over the years, he has perfected a paint formula that works like a glaze; when applied, the tiles are heated up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit where the glaze sets into glass, a process called vintrification, which makes the tile resistant to water and other pool chemicals.

Despite the his success and acclaim, Furnari says it can be hard living the life of an artist, where a paycheck may not be a regular occurrence. And Furnari has a wife and four daughters to provide for. "Once I sell the largest hand-painted pool in the world, my hope is that will change my current situation financially," he says.

Despite the uneven fortunes of the artist life, Furnari feels lucky to be where he is. He may not be as rich and famous as Picasso or Michelangelo, but he's no Van Gogh either. "Most artists, they don't have a studio," Furnari says. "They don't have the space and materials available to do things. It's a luxury if you look at it from a different way. Everybody wants to be an artist, including myself."


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