LOVINGTON — Murals can help build community by turning brick and block walls into colorful community art spaces available to everyone, and Lovington MainStreet is on a mission to make more of them happen.
Mural No. 10 was recently completed as part of the LMS mission by Taylor Elyse Arnold.
“We really love how well it meshes with everything we have going on,” said LMS director Mara Salcido. “She drew us a mockup beforehand, and we were excited to see the mock-up and then see it on the wall. It’s really beautiful.”
Arnold’s new mural behind Padge’s Flowers Shop not only brings another colorful mural to Lovington’s growing arsenal of public art, but also puts an imagined scene inspired by New Mexico within eyesight of the new magistrate building under construction on Main Street.
“(I wanted to) showcase the beauty in our area,” said Arnold. “Naturally, I had to go with Yuccas — the state flower. I felt like they would just tie in all of the wall really nicely, having them so long to bring in the horizon to the foreground.”
“Our biggest thing is highlighting New Mexico and Lea County specifically,” Salcido said of the murals sponsored by LMS. “I think she did a wonderful job showing off our landscapes and how beautiful our community really is.”
And, Arnold took the landscape from her mind and decided to create it with about 10 different colors of spray paint in at least three layers. But she omitted one color that is sometimes routinely thought of when describing New Mexico.
“My concept for this piece … was New Mexico without the color brown,” said Arnold. “There’s absolutely no brown in this painting — it’s all color and white.”
And though Arnold was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is a senior at Texas Tech in Lubbock majoring in fine art with emphasis in painting, she is no stranger to the Lovington and Hobbs areas. So, being suggested by Lovington resident and Farmer’s Market organizer Mark Anderson to the LMS beautification of downtown project to paint a mural was an easy connection.
“She’s just amazing,” Anderson said. “She’s got a lot of talent.”
“Mark Anderson … actually connected her with us,” said Salcido. “And, she’s done another mural in the community too, so we saw her work.”
The 29-year-old lived in the Hobbs and Lovington area from the time she was a teenager until she left to attend Tech. She also has a booth filled with her artwork inside the Downtown Market antique store at the corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue.
“I was able to get down here for a couple of days and knock it out,” Arnold said smiling. “I was really honored to be asked to do it.”
She did it completely with spray paint.
Spray-paint artists for years have used aerosol cans filled with acrylic paint to adorn everything from posterboards to sides of buildings. In the 80s and 90s spray paint makers also started selling different tips that could be used on spray-paint can to help with different effects — from a wider spray of fading pattern to a tighter pattern for sharper lines.
But Arnold did not use any special tips for the effects she has created on her mural.
“I haven’t used any tips in my mural art yet,” said Arnold.
And the effort LMS is putting into public art and murals in the area is starting to pay off. In Artesia, a city in Eddy County known for it’s public art sculptures, the MainStreet organization there is partnering with LMS to distribute tour maps of arts in the area.
“We’re going to be adding our graffiti murals to the tour that Artesia is putting together, because there’s a few different communities within the MainStreet network that have all these different (public art projects),” said Salcido. “They’re putting it together and we’re going to be added to that.”
Arnold likes what LMS is doing with public art.
“I think they’re really trying to put themselves on the map and really encourage different artists and people in general, that we’re (Lovington) all about art and expressing and color,” Arnold said. “It’s something nice to look at going through here, because there is a lot of traffic going through here from Lovington to Hobbs. … It’s refreshing for me coming back every so often and seeing something new on a building.
“It makes you want to look around, and pay attention, and slow down and appreciate the town. There’s these hidden gems everywhere.”
While Arnold’s mural is the latest edition the downtown art project, it is not the last, Salcido said.
“We have three more blocks to go on our alley walkway,” Salcido said. “We’re hoping to add an additional five murals and are excited to feature different artists.”
In addition to mural and public art, Arnold frequently creates smaller works and can be found painting live. She welcomes anyone to stop in, explore her art, and talk with her about it.
On Friday, Arnold will be live painting starting at 7 p.m. at Flipper’s Tavern, 1406 Avenue Q, in Lubbock.
While she is not open for commissions, she does produce original pieces and prints for sale as well as private works.
“Soon, I’ll be knocking out another wall (mural). It going to be on the inside (of a recovery clinic in Lubbock), and a little smaller, but I really enjoy doing murals,” Arnold said. “I’m kind of building a portfolio on walls in New Mexico to take with me. I’m really grateful for that opportunity.
“If someone has a building they want me to paint on … I’m on Facebook under my full name — Taylor Elyse Arnold,” she said smiling. “I’m usually the one with piercings in my face.”