Another mural has graced the walls of downtown Conway.
Local artist, Jessica Jones, began the colorful creation in January.
Located outside the Brick Room Event Center next to King’s Live Music, the 15-foot mural flows with a variety of flowers laced together on top of a black backdrop.
Jones told the Log Cabin Democrat that the Brick Room asked her to do the mural and after she jotted down some concepts on a piece of paper and presented it, the project was green-lighted.
The Conway artist has spent the past several months chalking an outline and climbing up and down into the sky with a lift to place her exactly where she needed to be. Rain or shine, Jones was out there.
The LCD asked the painter how it is a person starts a project this big.
Jones said she started with the original concept — though that was scrapped early on — and began drawing on the wall with chalk, outlining exactly what she wanted and editing along the way.
Then, the painting started.
“Almost like you would a coloring book,” she said.
Jones said she spent a lot of time trying to find a cohesive color pallet, something that flowed well and balanced with the different pieces. In the end, the mural found olives, some creams, coral and a little blue and yellow, all on top of a black canvas, Jones filling in the lines one at a time.
“You go from something really small and make it something really big,” she said.
Jones said the piece was constantly developing as she went.
“As I started drawing the flowers on the wall, I started kind of creating flowers that weren’t even in my original sketch,” she said. “Even then, I don’t know if I had originally planned on having as much black outlining but I really liked the way it turned out.”
In the end, the final concept did alter from what the original was but Jones said that’s just a part of it; if an artist allows a piece to change and develop as they’re working, it almost always takes its own liberty to do so. That, she said, is how someone keeps from losing it with a big project like the mural.
“You pretty much have to go in with the acceptance that something always goes wrong,” Jones said. “You just usually have to keep going. In every project, there’s always a moment where everything seems to be going wrong, things aren’t working out the way I wanted it to. It’s really tempting to want to just stop because it’s so frustrating.”
That moment came for her with the change in weather, which she said was her biggest challenge.
Jones said at one point she wasn’t making the progress she wanted to and the air was moist. After stepping away, she came back and the pieces had bled into each other, the paint running.
After she touched it up, she realized that black paint was different and she had to start the fixing process over.
“That was a big pain and frustrating and then you just feel like it’s never going to get done,” she said.
Despite, the artist said she just had to push through and keep going. She said the more jobs she has done, the more she’s come to realize the importance in that … that at some point, "you’re going to hit some challenges."
“It’s going to be frustrating and scary and sometimes it’s going to be more frustrating and more scary, especially when it’s a public piece,” Jones said. “Everyone’s watching. It’s not something you’re working on in your home.
"It kind of had to look bad for a week with paint running down the wall because it was still too wet for me to fix but just understanding that you have to just keep going, just push through and that it will get better if you do that.”
She said she had to approach the mural like that nearly everyday, taking each piece in small bites, a little at a time.
Jones completed the piece in mid-March and signed her name to the artwork just a couple of weeks ago.
“You know, there’s always a sense of relief because you know you want to reach the finish line just like when you’re in a race but you know, it’s definitely a good feeling of accomplishment … to be able to finish something and be satisfied with it.”
The one desire she hopes this piece translates to the public is that art is worth it.
“I want people to see the value of art in the way that it contributes to the community and just to everyday life,” Jones said. “I think that sometimes people tend to see art as secondary — and I mean I’m biased because it’s what I do — but if you look at very primal societies, they may not have really anything but shelter, food and water but they probably have art and music. I think we tend to downgrade how important those kind of expressions are.”
She said she loves doing big pieces like this, but most of all, she loves the way others take to them.
“I think it’s more of a sense of accomplishment for me and then I get enjoyment from other people enjoying it,” Jones said.
She said now’s a great time for these types of art pieces too.
“Hoping that people are starting to realize, especially people in city management, that with the Instagram age, people love taking pictures in front of murals,” Jones said. “You want an engaging downtown community, you need art. It’s vital.”
The mural can be viewed at any time, but there is a red carpet launch party coming up.
Set for 6 p.m. April 20, Silver Lake Studio is hosting the event — sponsored by Pete Tanguay and Rock Pond Pros — to celebrate, inviting the community out to walk the red carpet and get their photo — by Red Curtain Theatre “paparazzi” — taken next to the artwork while enjoying live music by DJ Ryan Storey.