What the Artists Have to Say about Mural Fest
Northeast Indiana Artists Reflect on Mural Fest
Months after the conclusion of Make It Your Own Mural Fest, Northeast Indiana artists are reflecting on the impact Mural Fest made on their communities and their career. Read more below from regional artists Ricco Diamante and Tobias Studios.
Muralist for DeKalb County
Artist | Ricco Diamante
Hometown | Defiance, OH
Mural Location | City Hall, 130 S. Randolph St., Garrett, IN 46738
"It takes more than a vision, a brush, and paint buckets to complete a community mural. I’ll write a second statement about the symbolism in the mural images and the process of painting this wall, but first I want to thank my wife Stephanie for supporting me in so many ways to complete the Garrett Railroad Mural. I basically painted from sunrise to midnight for 13 days through cold, sometimes windy, and a few rain delays. Our 2-and 4-year-old sons wanted to know why I was still painting the same train, they kept saying “you already painted the train, stay home today, or go to the studio to tattoo.” It was a performance art marathon, unlike anything I’ve ever attempted. My body aches, my hands feel like I went 13 rounds, yet my mind is still racing with the praise I’ve seen on social media and the conversations with real people who visited me while I worked. I’m excited about the possibilities of painting again both for Garrett or hopefully my hometowns of Defiance and Fort Wayne. I’m thankful for all the people who cleared the way for me to paint this mural. I’m happy so many businesses supported this event and made it possible with generous donations. The community of Garrett was incredibly friendly and generous. I met awesome people, some became friends, some were just there to see the wall in person, but many left there mark on me by sharing how they connected to the painting. Murals are art for the people, and based on my experience last summer painting in Van Wert, OH, I already knew that the conversations are almost 1/3 of my time completing a public wall. My private tattoo studio has 4 walls enclosing my creativity, a mural has one gigantic wall amplifying my vision to anyone who takes time to walk up to view it. Most everyone had something positive to say. Some were bold and gave me an unsolicited critique. I honestly received a mountain of compliments while I worked on the boom lift, but each time I came down from the wall I was told stories about the Railroad and the people who lived and worked it for 40 years. The people’s voices became fuel to keep reaching toward the wall with my brush to complete the painting. The stakes were high, and the event energy kept growing legs that carried the momentum of the festival like a centipede. Almost every day I spoke with people who interviewed me for news media. I’m thankful for my thoughts and ideas about what I was painting were published in newspapers and on social media, they gave me more motivation to finish strong. Thank you to everyone who believed in me and trusted me with a City Hall Wall. I was set up to succeed and I didn’t want to let anyone down. Thank you to everyone in all the organizations and businesses working behind the scenes to help the 11 artists painting for mural fest create art for the people. Words are difficult to find to describe how inspired I am by the new friends I’ve made in the last 2 weeks. All the other artists painting the murals raised the bar on what I believed I could achieve. Thank you for supporting public art and voting for my mural on WANE-TV. I honestly feel like this is the start of a new art career because there are a lot of prominent walls with the potential to paint something powerful for the people."
Muralist for Noble County
Artist | Tobias Studios
Hometown | Fort Wayne, IN
Mural Location | 122 N. Orange St., Albion, IN 46701
"11 days in Albion and Doc’s Fox is done. This is definitely one of our favorite experiences. We were able to complete this piece in a short time, but not without lots of help. We had two amazing mentees working alongside us, Violet Landrum and Olivia Ulch. They were reliable, mindful, and an asset to this piece. We had no idea what to expect and to say they exceeded our expectations, is an understatement. Thank you. It was a pleasure getting to know you. We also got to work at one of the greatest places Doc's Do It Best Hardware & Rental. They accommodated our every need. The owners are the nicest people and we had every supply a rock throw away. Thank you. The locally-owned restaurants keep us well fed. ONE10 West Main served 80 meals at our meet and greet. They staff some of the most thoughtful nice people. Thanks to Albion Pizza Depot and Kounty Kitchen for going out of your way to keep us fed. Thank you to all of Noble County, The City of Albion, and Noble County Economic Development for making us feel so welcome. It was a great pleasure to get to know the people in your community. You have some of the biggest hearts we have ever met. What a beautiful place to live. Thank you to Jeff Crane, Mollie Shutt, and Stephen Bailey for documenting this experience. You are the best of the best and it was a huge honor to work with you. Thanks to the sponsors for investing in Northeast Indiana and for seeing the importance of public art. A huge thank you to Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Art This Way, and Arts United for bringing this all to fruition. We are forever grateful. See you soon Albion."
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