Art is not just an end product, but an authentic process for Reno artist Erik Burke, who painted a mural across the back of the Highway 50 Business Center in Carson City last weekend.
"I kind of went out there and improvised," the 26-year-old said. "It's kind of like jazz."
He is one of six artists to exhibit at the Capital City Arts Initiative "What Up?" show opening Sept. 29 at the Courthouse Gallery in the Carson City Public Safety Complex. Artists Jeff Erickson, Amber Gutry and Toni Ortega will be there, but Jake Lee-High and Nick van Woert moved away for graduate school.
"Basically, the idea of the 'What up?' show was to try and get young artists from Northern Nevada to bring something that was new and exciting to the area," said Melanie Berner, associate program director. "Maybe something that people in the Carson and Reno areas haven't seen before."
Burke will display a time capsule of his mural-painting weekend at the Courthouse Gallery: Inside a transparent vinyl tent, he will place photos of the process, his paint-splattered pants and tumbleweed and sagebrush.
He used 22 gallons of paint to roller-brush the word 'homemaidlandescape" on the back wall of the business center. Helping were neighborhood children who use an adjacent field for BMX biking. Several were curious and approached Burke with questions.
"We had a painting lesson," he said. "We painted houses and animals, and everyone wanted to learn how to write their name graffiti-style. We discussed that it's OK to paint like that only if you have the owner's permission."
Burke spent 30 hours on the mural - the 'aid' in "Homemaidlandescape," representing the help the area field needs and the "escape" describing the experience of the children who bike there.
"It kind of makes them excited about their own back yard," he said.
Like all of the artists in the show, Burke is young and uses media in unique ways. His mural is visible from the road headed west into Carson City, but drivers traveling east will need to turn their heads.
"It feels so good to work outside like that," he said. "You feel like you're really adding to the whole environment. It's fun to work in space that's forgotten."
Capital City Arts Initiative features two three-month shows at the Courthouse Gallery each year and also shows at the Caffeine Gallery at Comma Cafe. Burke's advice before deciding to paint a wall on the side of the building is to ask permission.
"The owner (of the Highway 50 Business Center) said it was fine," he said. "I thought he was going to say no or ask to see a proposal. He said, 'Go for it.'"
If you go
What: 'What Up?" art exhibit, featuring Erik Burke, Jeff Erickson, Amber Gutry, Jake Lee-High, Toni Ortega and Nick van Woert
When: Opening reception scheduled from 5-6:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Carson city Courthouse Gallery, 885 E. Musser St. The exhibit remains up until Dec. 16.
Contact: Melanie Berner at 287-2252