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Artistic murals spice up the look of downtown area

Paris native, college student and visual artist, August Hunt, has recently added three large photograph-murals to the downtown area, bringing both an artistic look and some Paris history for locals and visitors to enjoy.

One of the new murals in the downtown area shows a picture of the rich history of Paris, Texas. This photo was actually taken right across the street from where the mural is located. (eParisExtra photo by Josh Allen)
One of the new murals in the downtown area shows a picture of the rich history of Paris, Texas. This photo was actually taken right across the street from where the mural is located. (eParisExtra photo by Josh Allen)

Hunt, who is a fine arts major at Cooper Union in New York City, was born and raised in Paris and said that he’s always loved the downtown area, growing up only seven blocks away from it.

“I was in town for the Christmas holiday and noticed that the downtown area was getting a lot of new stores and restaurants, but I felt that it was missing art,” Hunt said. “I wanted to bring that to the area.

Working with Paris Main Street coordinator, Cheri Bedford, Hunt acquired permission from the City of Paris and began deciding what he was going put up and where.

“I searched through the Aikin Archives at the PJC library and found many historic photos of Paris,” he said. “I narrowed that down to three that I really thought Paris would like, showing some history for viewers.”

The three photos Hunt chose are from early in the 20th century, when pictures were still taken in black and white. They are a line of taxi cabs and their drivers, a line of cyclists with their bicycles and a family picking cotton.

Using an artistic style that he’d learned from the French artist, J.R., as he was working and studying under him, helping him put on art shows in places like Dallas and New York, the artist began putting the art to the canvas (or in this case, buildings)

The art style is known as ‘wheat-pasting’ (a likeness to wall-paper paste), which is basically creating a paste out of flour and water that goes on the surface of the building like a glue and then again on top of the image, allowing it to mold to the shape of the structure that the picture is one.

These are not small murals by any stretch. The photo of the cabbies and their taxis is 35 feet wide, by 12.5 feet high; the family picking cotton is 19 feet wide, by 32 feet high; and the photo of the bicyclists is 20 feet wide, by 10 feet high.

Because of the large size, the photographs had to be printed in smaller (although still quite large) strips and pieced together as the pasting was taking place. The project was started a week ago from Monday, and was completed over several days.

Two of the murals (the cab drivers and the bicyclists) are located just west of the Gibralter Hotel building, off N Main Street, while the other one (the family picking cotton) is located near the intersection of SW 1st and Bonham Street.

These murals were made possible as a result of the artistic vision of August Hunt and generous donations by 1st Federal Community Bank, Uptown Properties (Gary Brown), and Early American Art Forms (Ray Trotter).

Everyone in Paris should go and view these large, historic works of art. They are beautiful and add a great touch to our wonderful downtown.

By Josh Allen, eParisExtra

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