Lucy Jones saw a picture of a mural of musician Tom Waits that she thought was incredible on Instagram. It said the mural was in Paris, and she assumed it meant Paris, France.
When she found out it was in Paris, Kentucky, Jones, the director of the annual Harry Dean Stanton Fest, started thinking.
“I loved the art, and I thought, you know what, we need a Harry mural,” Jones said. “Why doesn’t Lexington have a Harry Dean Stanton mural? That’s clearly the next step.”
So a couple months ago, she reached out to the Waits artist, Graham Allen, about creating the mural and then Kentucky for Kentucky, which owns the Kentucky Fun Mall on Bryan Avenue, about hosting it.
Saturday night, Jones got to see her idea come to fruition as the just-completed mural was part of the final event in the 2017 Harry Dean Stanton Fest, the first since Stanton’s death on Sept. 15 at 91. Fans gathered on the closed-off section of Bryan Avene in front of the Fun Mall to get a first look at the mural and watch an outdoor screening of “The Straight Story,” a 1999 David Lynch film starring Richard Farnsworth in an Oscar-nominated performance, and Stanton.
“It was a fitting opportunity to put something together that ended up being an homage,” said Allen, who completed the mural with his frequent collaborator Geoff Murphy.
The duo have completed murals around the region as well as logos and art for local companies such as Mirror Twin Brewing and The Bear & the Butcher restaurant. Their signature look is a black-and-white, almost stencil-like style.
“The style worked well for the space,” Allen said of the black-walled Fun Mall.
As far as creating the image of Stanton, Allen said he and Murphy looked at several iconic Stanton images to come up with their portrait.
“We looked at some of his earlier films and also more recent, something that had more of a glare and a tension as opposed to a profile,” Allen said.
In the image, Stanton is looking to his right, and the artists say his eyes were key to the portrait.
“It was a thoughtful look, and particularly for the location, it had a lot to do with the direction ... the way he’s staring up the street,” Murphy said.
Allen pointed out that for people driving down Bryan Avenue at the stop sign at Loudon Avenue, “it’s focused directly on you, the eyes are. Happy accident, but it worked out well.”
Rich Copley: @copiousnotes.