POSTED ON FEBRUARY 16, 2011:
Walls of Fame
Oklahoma's history hits the bricks as a colorful mural while taggers re-write public art
Mary Beth Babcock, owner of Dwelling Spaces, 119 S. Detroit Ave. in the Blue Dome District, has a passion for Oklahoma and a wild imagination. But she's not the only one.
Babcock was introduced to the work of Oklahoma artist Rick Sinnett in November and immediately fell in love with his contemporary designs that draw inspiration from Oklahoman history and culture.
Babcock became particularly captivated by one of Sinnett's drawings entitled "Indian Warrior" and suggested to Sinnett that she would like to see it transformed into a mural on the exterior wall of a downtown building. Sinnett said the opportunity would be a dream come true, and Babcock began contacting local businesses about becoming involved with the mural proposal. Rick Rose, owner of Second Hand Rose Pawn Shop, 2100 E. 3rd St., liked the idea and agreed to make his building the site of the Sinnett's "Indian Warrior" mural. To make the project a reality, Sinnett contacted Bob Palmer, a professor at the University of Central Oklahoma who specializes in mural making.
Sinnett, Palmer and mural artist Scott Henderson started the mural on Feb. 11. At a scale of 15 by 15 feet, the mural brings to life Sinnett's drawing, which reflects on Oklahoma's historical role as Indian Territory by featuring the state's official wildflower, Indian blanket, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, the state bird, and a Creek catalpa tree.
An ambitious undertaking on its own, the Blue Dome District's "Indian Warrior" mural is only the start for Sinnett. Babcock's idea to transform his drawings into public art has inspired Sinnett to start work on what will become a series of 11 murals along Route 66 that will span across the entire state of Oklahoma.
Eager to support Sinnett in his ambitious vision, Babcock contacted American biographer and historian Michael Wallis for advice regarding locations to install the murals. Wallis is regarded as the ultimate Route 66 guru and worked as a consultant for Pixar Studios during the development of Cars and provided the voice of the Sheriff of Radiator Springs.
As a way of involve the community and financially support this ambitious undertaking, Sinnett has made 200 limited edition screen prints of "Indian Warrior" that are available to purchase at Dwelling Spaces. The prints are $33 and are complemented with T-shirts, greeting cards, postcards and buttons of the same design. An official art opening for Public Arts Project 66 will take place on Aug. 3 at Dwelling Spaces at which Sinnett will reveal the 11 drawings that will correspond to the proposed mural project.
Ambitious Undertaking. The Blue Dome District’s “Indian Warrior” mural is only the start for Rick Sinnett. Babcock’s idea to transform his drawings into public art has inspired Sinnett to start work on what will become a series of 11 murals along Route 66 that will span across the entire state of Oklahoma.
Sinnett has already begun designing the second mural of the series, which is tentatively planned to be installed along Route 66 in El Reno. Professor Palmer has agreed to lead the process of transforming all 11 of Sinnett's designs into murals. Sinnett draws inspiration from his work by weaving imagery and experiences from his own knowledge of Oklahoma into intricate and well-crafted designs.
"I am proud to be an Okie," said Sinnett, who has lived all over the country but is most inspired by the history and passion for art he sees in Oklahoma.
Public Art Route 66 is an opportunity for Sinnett to bring a rejuvenated sense of contemporary art to Route 66 and leave his mark in the state he loves.
For more information, visit dwellingspaces.com.
Tulsa's Legal Wall
Sinnett's "Indian Warrior" mural is not the only public art along Route 66 in Tulsa. In recent years a subculture of street art and graffiti artists have come out of hiding to create work without the threat of arrest on the only "legal wall" in Tulsa. Located at Mad Dog Liquor, 9347 E. 11th St., the art on the wall is constantly changing from one day to the next. Artists from around the city and out of state leave their marks, however temporary, on a wall where the property owner, Jaqueline Dutton, not only allows, but encourages artists to create something new.
Tulsan, Luke Lawson, recently created a blog called iDigTulsa in which he highlights exciting outlets for creativity around the city. A photographer himself, Lawson has always been fascinated with the work of street artists and frequently photographs the wall in an effort to preserve this illusive art form.
Lawson described the kind of imagery most frequently expressed on this wall as abstract with political undertones.
"Those two things mixed together create something that is striking," he said. "Rarely in Tulsa do we get to see any kind of striking public art."
The street art/graffiti scene is much more prevalent on coastal cities and across Europe. This wall brings a different flair to Tulsa's art scene that should not go unrecognized.
For more information, visit idigtulsa.blogspot.com.
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