By Emily Weaver
Dunn Daily Record
It started with monotone doodles of letters and shapes spray-painted on the side of a building in downtown Angier.
“… Many thought it was vandalism,” said Heather Keefer, Angier’s Community Development coordinator.
But over the course of a few weeks scattered across three months, the symbols some attributed to gang activity morphed into Angier’s newest mural.
“It represents a new chapter for our beautiful hometown of Angier!” said Julie Wills, who co-owns the building with the mural at the corner of Lillington and Broad streets. “The colors and script are a fun way to show how proud we are of our town.”
Jason Clark of Willow Spring painted the masterpiece — one of many random acts of artwork he’s committed to liven up walls across Eastern North Carolina.
“This was a fun process,” Clark said. “It’s a little bit out of my style. I don’t normally do butterflies, but I love challenges.”
The mural project offered many challenges as sweltering summer temperatures forced him into morning and evening work shifts. The changing textures of the wall from smooth surfaces to deep cracks, and the occasional nail in between, forced him to rethink patterns. And swarms of gnats and scheduling conflicts pushed the three-week project into month three.
But it started with doodles causing a stir.
“Yes, my sister drove by the night he did it and called me in a panic,” Wills said. “She said you have to come and see what’s been done. I laughed and explained that the graffiti was something the artist always does before he starts a mural.”
Random images covered the wall: A Pac-Man symbol here, a triangle there, a diamond, squiggly lines, letters and other shapes covered the side of the building, but it wasn’t graffiti.
I do a doodle grid, is what it’s called,” said Clark. “It’s just a map, essentially is all it is.”
A drawing of the mural overlaid on an image of the doodled wall helped him map it all out — with spray paint.
“I think a couple of people were set back,” Clark said. “They thought someone had vandalized the wall and they thought it was graffiti and gang-related … but no one’s really seen someone come in with spray cans (to make a mural).”
He estimated 90% of the mural was achieved with spray paint and though the beginning was a puzzle, the final image leaves no doubt.
“You hear people say they think it’s beautiful and that’s all that matters,” said Clark, who’s painted murals for nearly a decade.
The building is more than 100 years old and has housed several businesses. This fall, it’s set to be the second location of Thanks a Latte, a gift store and coffee shop.
Visit GetToKnowAngier.org to see how the mural took shape over time. To see more of Clark’s work, visit theJTC on Facebook.