Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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June 16, 2014

Traveling artist renews buildings

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Pauls Valley seems to be central to a lot of passions that grow into community projects.

From recycling to the aquatics center, each dream has found a way to bring more attention to the town’s unique nature. This not a fact lost on Mustang artist Rick Sinnett, who in his own journey is literally transforming the faces of communities, one mural at a time.

“I want these pieces to be fine art on the wall, not just commercial art,” said Sinnett, who is helped out by Thomas Suratt out of Oklahoma City. “It’s kind of become a campaign for public art for Oklahoma… My mission is art for the people.”

A lot of these paintings are mostly donated, with the only thing he usually receives in compensation including meals or gas and the supplies to do said work. He is starting to do more paid pieces now.

Though Sinnett had passed through Garvin County on occasion before, it was while he was painting a mural in Norman that he was approached by Punkin’s owner, Elaine Foley. He noted how she was a big supporter of the arts and asked him to do something similar on her restaurant and from there began a process over a few weeks.

As for his style, it is a combination of elements Sinnett borrows from the state’s identity and some aspect that makes the town he is in special. The piece here illustrates that in the state bird, the Scissor-tailed flycatcher featured prominently in a valley at sunset.

“Any time I paint in a community, I want to have some sort of interpretation of what the community is about,” said Sinnett. “I always put all elements like air, water and earth.”

Getting started on this scale goes back to a piece Sinnett originally did for someone in Tulsa. It was pen and ink, that later became a request to convert it to much larger scale.

It eventually went up in the art district along Route 66. It spurred a mission to do a series of these along the mother road in Oklahoma as well as other places.

“My goal is to paint a total of 11 murals along Route 66, border to border,” said Sinnett. “From that it’s just sort of spread and we’re jumping here and there.”

Sinnett believes the benefits of having artwork like this doesn’t just mean a pretty surface on a building. It may encourage visitors to see more of what that community has to offer.

The one thing that rings true each time he does something like this is that people adopt the artwork as a part of their lives. They then share it with anyone they come in contact with.

“There are lots of people who get to see the process, the various stages, become involved and take ownership,” said Stinnett. “It’s a neat experience.”

Sinnett hopes to paint more of Pauls Valley in the future. He has entered into discussions of doing at least one building in the downtown area. Should that get underway, he would then create some conceptual art for the design and then raise money for the supplies to make it happen.

“Pauls Valley seems to be a prime community for it to be effective,” said Sinnett. “I really like bringing giant vibrant art pieces to places like this, don’t have the same luxury in larger cities.”

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