Art Before the Storm: LSA Mural Project Begins Early

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Before a forecasted storm comes for the newly washed cars of Denton, six artists will renew the LSA rooftop walls as part of LSA’s annual mural art project done in collaboration with GDAC.. This year’s group of artists all come from various backgrounds but together they’ll shine through the power of their art. They each have the skill and determination to bring their ambitious visions to life.

It’s a time where anything can happen.The gamut of murals from the past 3 years have ranged from Travis Sykes’ street art style to Artlab 3000’s bizarre and wonderful piece with a deep meaning. Any piece could be lifelike, symbolic, or somewhere in between.

Artists can be seen in the process of their work all day on Friday, April 13. Whether they know it or not, those looking for a casual meal on LSA’s rooftop that day will be treated to some serious art skill. Here are the artists who will be completing their murals this weekend.

John Bramblitt

John Bramblitt began painting after losing his eyesight as a means of coping with the depression that accompanied his condition. Bramblitt said “I felt alone, and isolated, and creating art was my way of reaching out and telling the people around me that I was still here and that I was still me; even with the vision loss.”

Bramblitt has a big appreciation for arts-inclusive communities. He’s received three presidential awards for organizing workshops in places that might not receive art lessons without his contributions. LSA’s mural art project shows everyone that Denton can showcase its local artists and receive a warm welcome.

Expect Bramblitt’s piece to be spirit-lifting. “I want to put a smile on people's faces, and have them feel some of the emotions that I feel from living in this town. The joy, the color, the relaxed atmosphere, and that you can do your own thing and have fun doing it.,” said Bramblitt

John Bramblitt’s website

Cynthia Giron

In addition to established artists, LSA provides an opportunity for UNT and TWU art students. Cynthia Giron is an MFA student from Houston who will graduate from UNT in December, and she’s always wanted to be a part of this project since it began in 2016.

Giron grew up admiring murals, and she’s excited to complete her first one. It will push her boundaries to work with short time constraints and a large scale piece, but she’s confident in her ability to make something that represents herself as an artist.

Vibrancy is what to expect from Giron. Her website shows that her previous paintings have bold colors with juxtapositions of various items with connections that can be sometimes abstract. Giron said, “I want to show that play and fun are big components to my art practice.”

Cynthia Giron’s website

Madelyn Sneed-Grays

Oil paintings by Madelyn Sneed-Grays are time-consuming works with great attention to detail. Her work evokes awareness of ever-evolving culture, and she has a series on French cuisine. She has appeared on
Good Morning, Texas and Voyage Dallas Magazine, and she graduated cum laude from UNT with a BFA in Studio Art.

Sneed-Grays said, “This LSA mural project, which will be my first mural, will force me to take some time away from my comfort zone (working with oil paint) and cause me to adjust my process with a new medium so that I will be able to create the same representational outcome.”

There’s no doubt that Sneed-Grays piece will be something you can’t look away from.

Madelyn Sneed-Gray’s website

Chelsea Miller

One of LSA’s own servers, Chelsea Miller will dazzle Dentonites. Miller is a graphic design student, but according to her Behance portfolio she is a “painter at heart.” She is excited for the chance to get connected with more local artists as she works alongside fellow talented artists.

Miller said, “My style typically consists of more representational subjects and abstracted elements, however, given this opportunity I am choosing to really push myself into creating a world around my chosen subject. In my composition I want to really push the boundaries between realism and naivety.”

Chelsea Miller’s portfolio

Justin Archer

Dentonites may have seen Justin Archer’s wooden sculptures as part of an installation at GDAC called Composite of the Soul. His work is the kind of stuff that makes you wonder, “how can any artist do that?”

The project challenges Archer take his aesthetics used in his life-size zculptures and transition them to painting. “The mural I’ve been preparing for LSA has allowed me to further consider the overall composition, using a wider variety of color and including a landscape. While I love the practice of sculpture, this mural has given me a fresh eye to see the ways that my ideas can be translated into other artistic mediums.” said Archer.

Like his work in sculptures, Archer will likely have an immersive mural. Archer said, “This piece draws us out of the forest we can so often find ourselves in, to experience beauty and breath.

Justin Archer’s website

Dan Black

Black is the key figure in organizing the rooftop mural art project. Black has made Denton proud with works across the country, and he’s the artist who completed the biker mural on the side of Andy’s Bar (which thankfully is still there).

His collection of work shows an always growing artist. Black said, “The design for this year will hopefully benefit from the past year’s study of color relationships and abstract techniques. I’m also trying new techniques for portraiture that will involve the use of rattle cans and paint rollers. Both of those tools create textures that I really like, so I’ve been working to find a way to combine them.”

LSA’s mural art project provides an opportunity for new artists to get into the mix no matter their experience with such large pieces. Black said, “Don’t be intimidated. Cut yourself a lot of slack. Even large murals can be broken into bite size pieces. Think about the people who will look at it everyday. Try to have fun.”

Dan Black’s website

Meet the artists in person on Sunday night on the LSA rooftop for a celebratory reception that will feature live music from the Basically Basie Big Band. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tables will be set aside for a gallery viewing and social mixing. Remember to take a picture because next year the murals will change again.

For more info check out the Facebook event.

Photo by Ellie Gonzales