After many 10-hour days, artist completes colorful mural on tunnel under S.R. 224 |

After many 10-hour days, artist completes colorful mural on tunnel under S.R. 224

The McPlin Barn is framed by the colorful abstracts painted by mural artist Bill Louis. Louis was selected to paint the tunnel’s concrete walls after answering a call for artists sent out by Park City Municipal and the Park City Public Art Advisory Board.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

The pedestrian and bicycle tunnel that runs under S.R. 224 at McPolin Farm looks a lot prettier thanks to urban mural artist Bill Louis.

Louis, who has exhibited at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Studio Elevn and Impact Hub, was selected to paint the concrete tunnel after he answered a call for artists issued by Park City Municipal and the Park City Public Art Advisory Board late last summer. Louis finished the mural Monday.

His proposal was an abstract rendition of an abstract, urban-inspired landscape highlighted by rural staples such as a barn, cows and a creek. Louis spray painted the top part of the mural, then finished the lower section with regular exterior paints.

“The mural also has some geometric shapes that represent the sky, and rolling hills and mountains,” Louis said during a break from painting last week. The Eagle Mountain resident, who has also painted a mural at SouthTowne Mall in Sandy, said he likes how the tunnel art looks.

“There are a lot of different colors and shapes,” he said. “And most of the shapes are triangular, which is kind of what I’m known for.”

As a graffiti artist, Louis’ influences include Banksy, Revok and Shepard Fairey.

“I also love the classic artists like Vincent van Gogh, Dali and Picasso,” he said. “So I fused a little bit of all their styles in this mural.”

Louis began painting the tunnel at the beginning of June.

“I came in and primed the concrete with white and added some yellow,” he said. “It’s funny because after I primed it, people who came through started to tell me it already looked better.”

The size of the tunnel surprised Louis when he first arrived.

“It was longer than I expected,” he said with a laugh. “If it was on a flat surface, I estimate it would be about 600 square feet total.”

Mural artist Bill Louis applies some boarder tape on the concrete walls of the pedestrian tunnel that runs under S.R. 224 at McPolin Farm last week as his 8-year-old son, Zeezsrom, supervises.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

The size of the tunnel made it a time-consuming project for Louis, who estimated he worked on the mural for an everage of 10 hours each day.

“One day I came in at 10 a.m and left at midnight,” he said.

Still, he enjoyed the project.

“The only thing that has been a little tedious is the shapes that I put on the ceiling,” he said.

Throughout the project, Louis spoke with many hikers and runners and had to dodge speeding bikers.

He even had to deal with a family of swallows that decided to nest in the tunnel.

“If I got too close to the nest, the bird would come and hang out for a bit,” Louis said with a laugh. “When I moved away from the nest, it would go away, and so forth.”

Louis got into art while growing up in Reno, Nevada.

“I did a lot of sports — track, football and rugby — but at the end of the day, I would find myself drawing, doodling or painting,” he said. “I felt that art was always something I could go back to.”

Part of Louis’ attraction to art was how therapeutic it was.

“I could get into a zone where I was in my own world, time and space, and do whatever I wanted,” he said.

Louis’ interest in urban and graffiti art was also influenced by his upbringing.

“It always fascinated me to see these ugly buildings painted with bright colors,” he said. “And when I was younger, my buddies went out and did our own painting.”

After Louis began to hone his skills, he also started to feel he could do something more constructive with his art.

“That’s when I began to notice a lot of mural artists who would beautify spaces with what they do,” he said. “So I started doing mural work. And that has led me here.”

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