New mural slated to ride into town

Pony boy image to replace Felix at gas station

Durango artist Aaron Schmitt talks with Durango Design Review Board on Monday about a proposed mural, shown behind him. The proposal would replace the current mural on the side of the Everyday convenience store on College Drive and East Eighth Avenue. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Durango artist Aaron Schmitt talks with Durango Design Review Board on Monday about a proposed mural, shown behind him. The proposal would replace the current mural on the side of the Everyday convenience store on College Drive and East Eighth Avenue.

A tightly cropped photograph of a boy gripping the reins of a pony is the next mural for the Everyday convenience store at East Eighth Avenue and College Drive.

The image is an homage to “Durango’s cowboy culture, yet contemporizes it a bit,” said the artist named Jetsonorama in an application to the city’s Design Review Board.

The board on Monday approved the photographic image to cover a wall that is 45 feet, 4 inches wide and 16 feet, 8 inches tall.

It will be like “giant wallpaper” on the side of the building, attached through a technique called “wheatpasting,” said Aaron Schmitt, a local artist coordinating the project.

By sometime next week, the boy and his pony should replace an assortment of characters such as an Native American chief, a robot and a grinning Felix the Cat that was spray-painted onto the gas station wall in early April by artists in town for an exhibition at the Durango Arts Center.

The original image got the gas station in trouble with the city because it did not get prior approval for the mural from the Design Review Board, which mainly checks to see whether a mural is advertising.

As part of a compromise, the board allowed the original mural to stay until July as long as future proposals are submitted to the city for approval.

On Monday, the board decided to allow city staff members to sign off on future projects for Everyday because artists want to rotate murals there every four months. The pony image would likely come down in November.

Board member Tom Berry said he did not want to get into a “censorship” situation where personal tastes come into play in approving murals.

Because the gas station is not downtown, it is not subject to city code guidelines requiring murals to have “muted colors and earth tones” and reflect Durango’s cultural heritage.

The city, though, will require maintenance if the mural is not replaced as planned.

The gas station has collected $500 in public donations for the new design.

Jetsonorama, an Arizona-based artist, is expected in town this weekend to put up the new scene, Schmitt said.

Jetsonorama is the artist name of Chip Thomas, who works as a physician for a Navajo reservation.

According to the mural application, Thomas is a North Carolina native who is influenced by the photojournalism of Eugene Richards and James Nachtwey, an influential war photographer.

Durango’s cycling culture might appeal to Jetsonorama since he took a year off in 1992 to be the team physician for a transcontinental bicycle ride across Africa.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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