PROVO CITY MURAL (LOTS OF PHOTOS!)

For the last two and a half weeks I’ve left behind the comfort of my studio to work in a tunnel. In an effort to clean up and brighten the area, the Provo City Police Department has commissioned me to paint a mural along the Provo River Trail. The trail continues below the road at 820 N 850 W, creating a 40 ft tunnel, which I am fortunate enough to call my canvas.

BEFORE

Here is the tunnel before we started: bare cement walls with patches of paint to cover up the graffiti.

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The Police Department was kind enough to pressure wash the entire tunnel before we started painting, so that we wouldn’t end up with dirt, bugs and spiderwebs in the mural. Here is Sergeant Crozz with the hose:

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PAINTING

Over a period of two and a half weeks (totaling 51.5 working hours), I was joined by friends, family, the police department, and neighborhood volunteers in priming the tunnel walls, blocking out the base coats, and painting letters, trees, fish and clouds. I am so grateful to everyone that came out and took the time to make the tunnel a brighter place.

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OOPS!

While the mural was a lot of fun to paint, we certainly had our share of trouble along the way:

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FINISHED

After all that work of painting through floods and rain storms, cleaning up graffiti, washing paint out of hair, and slicing open our hands, we finished! The tunnel is definitely a brighter and more colorful place.

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NEXT: MORE MURALS!

I’m happy to say that this tunnel is just the beginning! Tomorrow I’ll be joined by a class of high school art students to start painting a new tunnel, twice the size of the first. While I’ll be using the same color palette, I’ve come up with a new scene for each wall that continues the themes of the river, neighborhoods, Provo City, and our mountainous landscapes.

SEE MURAL #2 HERE!

Comments
11 Responses to “PROVO CITY MURAL (LOTS OF PHOTOS!)”
  1. Darth Moll says:

    I’m super jealous you’re finished with your mural. Looks awesome!

  2. Nancy Nay says:

    I walk the trail every weekday morning and haved loved seeing your mural evolve–and have been wondering who to thank for it. Saw your signature this afternoon when I brought my husband over to see it. THANKS for sharing your talents to brighten up the trail, and for all the hard work of your crew. It is greatly appreciated!

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thank you so much! How thoughtful of you to find my name and get in touch with such kind words. I’m so glad you like it! I’m not sure if you’re interested, but I’m painting a bunch of faces on this new tunnel, and I’d be happy to slip in a stylized portrait of yourself. What do you think?

  3. ROSE says:

    Do you finish it with a special sealer to make graffiti easier to clean up? I really love the mural and intend to walk down the trail to see it this week. I usually don’t walk that far down.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Hi, Rose! Thanks so much for the comment. Yes, we went over the entire mural with a sealer that will protect the paint and provide an easier-to-clean surface for any graffiti. I expect it’ll get tagged again and again, but hopefully it’ll be a quick and easy clean-up.

      I’m using the sealer each time I paint on the new mural. I seal whatever I’ve painted that day, so that I don’t have to be worrying about vandalism as much.

      • ROSE says:

        That is what I thought you had done, Jess. I went to see the mural today and I especially love the fish! We fly fish the Provo all the time. I hope to help you sometime on one of your creations. 🙂

      • Jess Smart Smiley says:

        That’s so good to hear! We’ll have to throw some June Suckers into one of the other murals. Yesterday seemed must have been a good day for fishing–I saw 7 people with lines in the river.

        I’m usually painting between 1:30 and 5:30 during the week, and then most of the day on Saturdays. You’re welcome to join me 🙂

      • ROSE says:

        I don’t know where you are painting at this time? I would love to join you. I like that Provo is “styling” up the dreary tunnels! Maybe more people will start walking and biking, just to see the murals. I am sure it is a hit with children and big kids too. 🙂 I did see an many more people than usual yesterday as I walked down there.

      • Jess Smart Smiley says:

        They really have done a great job of branding the city. They have a logo, new signs and website…might as well brighten up the tunnels, while they’re at it, eh? The new mural is on Bulldog Blvd and 600 West. It’s just South of Walgreens, starting at the Fire Department. I’m just about finished with the exterior entrances, and then tomorrow I plan on starting work inside the tunnel.

  4. tolerance and understanding says:

    This is awesome! congratulations on all your hard work and making your visions and dreams come true!

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