The Illustrator chapter of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild has invited me to present the evening of August ninth at 7:30 pm.Join me at 12 Jackson Ave. @ Forsyth Ave in Clayton. Its been difficult to boil down thirty years of work and over 400 murals to display in an hour but I did it. If you follow me on Facebook you see the progress of my latest art but you will see many older pieces that have been under exposed including residential work. Questions and discussion are encouraged. Hope to see you there!
This Spring not only brought warmer weather but the first large project of the season. A new client, Locked and Loaded, a new shooting range and weapon store in Pana, Illinois gave me a call. They wanted a 60′ wide scene depicting a early autumn forest seen. They only requested a few deer but one needed to be a massive buck! The completed scene only took eight days to paint but that was spread out over three weeks due to rain. But now, its complete. It is viewed by every car passing on Hwy 16.
It took a call for entries, a resume and portfolio review, a sample design, a painting and finally a judged presentation. Then I got the call, I was chosen. The Carondelet Community Betterment Federation had selected my design for the seventh “Mural on Broadway.” With their sites set on ten total murals the tribute design of Jazz Trumpeter Clark Terry would forever grace the streets of South St. Louis on South broadway.
With Mr. Terry’s passing in February of this year, it seemed a natural selection to immortalize the man in the neighborhood where he was born and lived. The mural is only a short walk from where he lived before his trumpet led him around the world. A self-taught musician who was inspired by all he heard on those St. Louis streets, created his own sound that led Quincy Jones to describe him as the best trumpeter ever.
The entire mural took two weeks to complete. It is roughly 24′ tall and 28′ wide. It is painted on the side of an empty commercial building. A dedication ceremony is being planned for early 2016. Mr. Clark’s widow, family and some national jazz musicians have been invited.
(photo composite comp)
After a resume and sample submission and after a design approval presentation I was chosen as the artist for the seventh painting in the Murals on Broadway series. The Carondelet Community Betterment Federation has a goal of 9-10 public murals in the South Broadway neighborhood. This large wall mural is a montage tribute to Jazz trumpeter Clark Terry. Mr.Terry passed away this past February at the age of 94. Having been born and reared in the Carondelet neighborhood, his musical talent would eventually take him around the world. He played with Count Basie, Duke Ellington and was mentor to Miles Davis. He has sold more jazz records than any other musician!
The painting is about 24′ x 30′ in size. I estimate the completion time should take ten days. In conclusion, the Federation will plan a dedication ceremony to officially unveil the art to the community.
A few months ago I received a call from someone I’ve never met. He said he owned a tool & die company and he also had a company that produced metal bodied electric guitars. He said he was building a new assembly room and studio for this guitar business. Most of my commissions are from people I have never met. I have very few repeat customers for mural projects. Every customer seems to be as new as their projects. But quite often, this stranger turned customer ends up being a friend. This is the case at Metalin’. Ken Wolfert is one of the most independent, free-thinking creative people I have met in some time. He is also the owner of Metalin’. Our first simple intro meeting turned into two and a half hours. I saw the site and we discussed his vision for his room.
For a freelance artist working on a commission there is nothing better than when a client points me in the desired direction and then says “go.” There was very little direction or critique after that. He knows the best way to get the best result is to let the artist just do what he does. The project turned into one five by seven foot hung painting, a fifteen foot stairway graffiti mural leading to the guitar area and the final twenty-two foot wide montage mural depicting some of his favorite guitarists: Billie Gibbons, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chet Adkins, Kieth Richards, Jimi Hendrix, Les Paul, BB King, Carlos Santana and finally, Eric Clapton. I worked very intensely on this project and am very proud of the results. Ken was very pleased with everything as we left the install on Friday. Great job, great customer but as usual in these cases, it ends. For most customers the need for murals isn’t an everyday thing so while I hope to hear that voice on the phone again in the future, it is not expected. This project will lead to more and I can show what was painted. Another sample in my three hundred plus list of projects. They’re not all this much fun to work on but I enjoy them while they last!
When the owners commissioned me to re-paint the American flag scene with addition, no one would have expected the amount of rain the area has received! Regardless, the entire project nears completion and is expected to be finished sometime next week. The sixty-five foot flag section has been completed and now the new Uncle Sam addition is well underway. The project will be a total of ninety-five feet wide at its completion.
After 911 in 2002, the owners of Helen Fitzgerald’s Restaurant in Sunset Hills commissioned an artist to paint a very large sixty-foot flag mural on the side of their building. It was beautiful and impactful. Over the years the elements took it’s toll on the image. I had talked to Brett Syberg four years ago suggesting he let me re-paint the art. For a variety of reasons he chose to wait. Now a couple of weeks ago, I contacted him once more to discuss the art. The situation had changed and he immediately said, “Lets do it.” So the large 911 flag mural will be completely re-painted from stars to stripes. All of the original folds and design will remain as originally painted, but the colors will all be as bright and covered as in the beginning. In addition, the remaining thirty-five feet of blank wall to the right of the flag will be designed and painted.
This mural will now be ninety-five feet wide. Many murals fade and sometimes it only adds to the patina. In the case of an american flag mural, a different responsibility is involved. These colors should never be allowed to fade or look weathered. It is an honor to be chosen to complete this wall to be seen by veterans and the public alike!
This vintage camera of mine, the Panon Widelux F7 camera, is the real star of my upcoming Bold’e Burlesqu’e photo exhibit. Also used by actor Jeff Bridges on the sets of all his movies, this 1950′s designed gear-driven camera stitches slits of images together manually to create a full 170 degree view of my subject. In addition to the primary exhibit of Burlesque prints I will also be displaying a small select group of other favorite panoramic photos. I will have the camera available for viewing at the exhibit. There are few left in working order and are difficult to find.
What began with a four foot by six foot painting on my own living room wall exploded into a full-time career. To date, the best we can count, I have created over three hundred large-scale paintings all over the midwest region. These have included residential, commercial and public installations. The largest in scope and time has been a 15,000 square foot project in Eureka, MO. It took twelve months to complete. It is housed indoors at the Victorian Gardens independent living facility. Many of my paintings are considered commercial use artwork. This includes, restaurants like J. Bucks, DelMonico’s, office buildings like Merrill Lynch in Clayton and hotels such as The Chase Park Plaza.
Then still there are the countless public murals like the many seen along Route 66. I am to date still the most viewed artist on the great Mother Road. They say every journey begins with a single step but in my case, a single painting. I have illustrated in Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Kansas, Alabama, Virginia and Kentucky. There are no walls large enough to stop me from painting. What began with small 18″ x 24″ illustrations used for advertising purposes for Fortune 500 companies has developed into artwork many feet long! With Spring here I am looking forward to new projects in new places.