Meet The Muralists

 

Written in the October 2019 Issue

Edmond is home to 13 outdoor murals. Meet the artists behind the three newest murals on public display: 

Brooke Rowlands

Tropical Oasis by Brooke Rowlands

Location: Sunnyside Diner

Things moved fast for artist, Brooke Rowlands, when Edmond’s Sunnyside Diner opened. The diner owners, friends of Brooke’s, wanted both an inside and outside mural for their building. Brooke first painted the inside wall, which follows a traditional hometown diner theme, paying homage to Edmond’s culture, complete with Oklahoma symbols. For the outside mural, Brooke was given free rein to design a mural of her choosing—as long as it was colorful.

“The back wall of the diner is an alleyway that is only visible to people driving south on Broadway, so I went with bold and vibrant colors,” Brooke said. “I created “Tropical Oasis” because flowers are my passion. Much of my artwork incorporates botanical themes.”

It was the hottest week in July when Brooke painted the mural, so she started each morning at 5:45 am, took a midday break, and returned in the evening. “Every time I drive past the diner, I see people taking pictures with it, so that’s been very gratifying.”

Kristopher Kanaly

Untitled work by Kristopher Kanaly

Location: Edmond Railyard

The paint is barely dry on Edmond’s latest mural at the new Edmond Railyard downtown, commissioned by The Grant Group and Casey Massegee.

“The artwork is inspired by the favorite poem of Casey’s grandfather called Train of Life. It’s a metaphor about sitting at the front of the train to see where life takes you,” Kristopher said. “So of course, trains weave in and out of the mural design.”

After reading the poem, Kristopher did a word cloud that covered important aspects of life in Edmond besides trains. The words included: trees, public art, Native Americans, outdoor recreation, neighborhoods, parks, family, etc. In addition, Kristopher included Edmond landmarks, such as the Edmond Armory, the rocket ship slide at Stephenson Park, the downtown clock and the Arcadia Red Barn.

The 100 x 22 ft mural is a colorful collage that resembles a large paint-by number painting. Kristopher started by projecting his line-drawing onto the wall after the sun went down, tracing the outlines. From there, he spent two weeks filling in the color blocks with spray paint.

Having grown up in a family of artists--dating back to his great grandfather who owned an art gallery in Oklahoma City back in 1919—Kristopher is no stranger to the joys and challenges of being an artist. As a teenager, he worked in the gallery and designed his own graffiti culture t-shirts. Next, he was hired to paint murals in restaurants, but only outdoor murals offer the challenges of rain, heat and stinging bugs. Even so, he’s proud to offer his custom artwork to an area which he describes as “underutilized, but undergoing rejuvenation.”

Chris Cargill

Psyche by Chris Cargill

Location: 14 S. Broadway

The mural in the alley of 14 S. Broadway is known by the locals as “The Salvador Dali,” but the name Chris Cargill gave it has deeper meaning.

“Last year when I designed it, there was an art gallery in the building—so it seemed fitting to feature an artist, or rather, two artists,” Chris said. “Salvador Dali’s profile is featured with a backdrop of horizontal and vertical color blocks inspired by artist, Piet Mondrian, who tried to show balance in the simplest of forms. I was thinking about all the changes going on in downtown Edmond. Salvador Dali often incorporated butterflies in his painting to represent change, metamorphosis, but with change, you need balance. So that’s the concept of the mural.”

Chris painted the mural last October, amidst various rainstorms, so the project took three weeks. “I was at the mercy of the weather, but it was really fun, because over the timeframe, I got to interact with a lot of people who had parked and were walking past. They had many questions, and it was a nice change from working in an art studio by myself.”

As with the other murals, Chris is fascinated by the ways that people interact with his art. Psyche is, of course, a selfie site, but he never predicted it would become a backdrop for a local auto detailer who photographs luxury cars in front of the mural.

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