Jan. 24, 2004 — Customers at The Paint Depot on Rhymer Highway may have noticed a little "monkey business" going on while recently exiting the store. For that they can thank St. Thomas artist Elisa Bryan who recently completed the store's new whimsical mural featuring an array of monkeys with paintbrushes in hand.
Commissioned by store owner Mike Perrin to add a little life to the paint store, the mural is not only turning customers' heads but is also eliciting more than a few chuckles, just as intended. "We wanted to do something on the wall it was just blank," says Perrin.
According to Bryan, the new mural at the store was really a product of happenstance. "I met Mike at an awards ceremony for the Ad Club and we just got to talking." After learning that Bryan was an artist who had previously done mural work, Perrin commissioned the 34-year-old artist to paint a humorous, paint-related mural on the store's exit wall.
A St. Thomas native, Bryan graduated from the Atlanta College of Art (where she has a degree in printmaking) and has worked in both California and New York, doing graphic design and mural work. In fact, Bryan was in New York City, working on a mural in Battery Park, when the September 11 attacks occurred.
In addition to her printmaking degree, Bryan has also studied under famed St. Thomas artist Eric Winter, who died a few years back. Says Bryan, "Eric was my mentor for many years."
After agreeing to paint the mural, Bryan began work on a variety of conceptual sketches to hone in on exactly what Perrin wanted. After the final concept was agreed upon, Bryan began painting the mural the week before Thanksgiving. Since she could only work when the store was closed, the project was just completed this past Tuesday. While both Perrin and Bryan agreed on a preliminary design, Bryan says the mural "evolved on its own" and that the final result was a "mutual process" between herself and Perrin.
Says Perrin of the mural, "it gives you a good feeling, and our customers think that it's really neat."
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