Selecting subjects for a mural depicting the history of Abilene was the easy part for graffiti artist Whitney Kerr III.
The difficult part was putting the scenes in the lettering, especially the “I” and the “L.”
“That was the tricky part: figuring out which image to put into which letter,” he said. “It was tough to find out what to do with the ‘L.’ We fit C.L. Brown in there.”
Kerr said there were a number of subjects he could have selected for the mural.
“I had a lot of help from people who live here pointing me in the right direction,” he said. “A few individuals sent me lists of certain people, places, events, things that have happened throughout history here in Abilene.”
Kerr did his own research throughout Abilene, taking pictures along the way.
“I got a cast of opinions and ran it by 15 to 20 people. Once I got an idea of what everybody wanted, I went from there,” he said.
He said he tried to be neutral in the selections.
Kerr said he was looking at Wild Bill Hickok but he started reading about C.L. Brown.
“He was a visionary as far as the way he cared for his employees. Apparently, after the depression, many of his companies became successful,” he said.
Brown died in 1935 from a heart attack at the age of 63. Of his 85 companies, 79 survived the Depression. Three of the companies that Brown founded in Abilene are now part of Sprint phone company, Westar Energy and Piggly-Wiggly grocery stores.
Abilene also already has a large Wild Bill Hickok mural on the side of Dave’s Gun Shop which helped Kerr in the selection of Brown.
Tuesday Kerr and fellow artist Chase Hunter started on the mural of the 1867 steam engine which used to bring cattle to Abilene.
“It’s a really good-looking train,” he said. “There will be a sunset and cattle cars.”
The “Abilene Printing and Office Supply” sign will be incorporated into the mural.
A third mural Kerr and Hunter are planning will be painted on the south side of Last Chance Graphics.
“It is going to be an interactive mural which I am real excited about. It’s a concept that I don’t think has every been done before,” he said.
His plan is a 16-foot tall girl bending and reaching down.
“Where her fingers are, I will put a nail or a screw on the wall so you can hang your shirt on it and it will make it look like this little girl is picking you up by your shirt,” he said.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.