December 17, 2015

Vulcan Mural Project brightens the city center

Vulcan’s latest incarnation brings color downtown.

The Vulcan Mural Project, by Kyle Kruse and Stephanie Guckenberger, is near completion on 19th Street North between Third and Fourth avenues. It’s the latest public mural in a city where they have become increasingly popular.

“We love seeing movement down here,” Guckenberger says of the city center.

The three pop-art style depictions of Birmingham’s most famous statue may seem to have appeared overnight; the couple began work on its Vulcan stencil on Dec. 2, and as of this week the 18-by-33-foot mural is all but complete, awaiting another coat of paint and finishing details.

“It’s been really fast. I think we owe a lot of that to the weather,” says Guckenberger, the project’s lead artist.

But Kruse, who owns several buildings on that block, conceived the idea over the summer. The team settled on an Andy Warhol-inspired Vulcan mural in September, and then sought approval from Vulcan Park and Museum and the city’s design review board.

The painting itself moved quickly. The team white washed and then primed the wall, marked off panels and used a projector to create the Vulcan stencil, which is made of three large pieces of foam board. Guckenberger had not previously completed a work on this scale; art is her hobby, not occupation. She’s a graduate student in counseling and works at Girls Inc. as a case manager. Painting is a creative outlet, she says.

“I’m a little bit more introverted at heart, so sometimes I just need that space,” says Guckenberger, who is also interested in art therapy. As she prepared for this semester’s finals, painting was a welcome study break.

Although it’s not quite finished, Guckenberger has seen pictures popping up on social media using the #vulcanmuralproject tag. And this likely won’t be the last such project on the block. She and Kruse hope to create another mural on Third Avenue, paying homage to the theater district. That one, she says, will require more detail and a more experienced artist.

by: journalist, Carla Jean Whitley

See the full article and timeline here.