MILTON — Three artists inspired by the art of Vincent van Gogh have painted a mural in downtown Milton, adding color to South Front Street.
Artists Steve Gibson, Beverley Conrad and Michael Rash have combined their skills and efforts and created a colorful mural on the Art Academy of Milton, an 11,000 square foot collaborative art space located in the former building of the ‘Fraternal Order of Eagles at 38 S. Front St .in Milton. The three artists completed the mural over the weekend of July 9.
Gibson, the building manager, said the building’s facade was plain when purchased last year. The Academy offers low-cost tuition, artist studios, performance spaces, photography and video/film sets, all under one roof.
“Unless people know the address or see the sign on the door, we look like any other kind of beige neo-Gothic facade that’s out here on the street,” Gibson said. “I’ve wanted to put something in place for months.”
The mural is a recreation of “Starry Night”, one of the best-known paintings by van Gogh, a Dutch artist from the 1800s. The piece is deliberately left unfinished, instead two silhouettes still paint the piece on the wall.
“It gives people the understanding that it’s a place to learn art, talk about art, create, and you can collaborate and do things like that,” Gibson said.
Gibson said he’s a big fan of van Gogh and recently went to an interactive exhibit of the artist’s work in North Carolina.
Rash, a writer, said he was only involved in blacking out the blocks.
“It’s good for me, I’m a writer. All I had to do was paint black,” he said. “They came and did all the special color.”
Conrad did the lower parts of the mural, including the tree, the village, and the color drops for the silhouette artists. She said it was tricky due to weekend lighting.
“We were trying to work from an image on our phones and couldn’t see,” Conrad said. “Van Gogh used to find himself in situations like this. He would go out in the middle of a sunny field and try to paint, and all the colors were messed up. He would come home and say ‘Woah. Green sky .’ It was fun throwing paint on it.
Gibson said the mural has received a lot of positive feedback from the community and social media. He said he would like to do more on the building, higher in the front.
The mural is finished just in time for a weekend event, the first gallery exhibition titled Obscurities: Pop Up Art Show & Concert July 29-31. It features original artwork by more than a dozen local artists.
Doors open at 5 p.m. on July 29. The evening will include an artist reception at 7 p.m. with live music from Desert Low, followed by a concert by The Boog and Zed Nebula at 8 p.m. The concert costs $10 per person.
Gallery hours will continue throughout the weekend: 1-6 p.m. Saturday and 12-4 p.m. Sunday.