Friday, July 20, 2001

Artist leaving a mark in town

Professional painter Shannon Lake said recently that Fayetteville is being referred to as "the city of murals."

With the addition of the artwork on the side of Hoffman Tire on North Glynn Street, Fayetteville now has three murals. The other two are on the south side of the square.

Lake would like to make it four by doing a historic mural on the square. "I've spoken to Nancy Price [Fayetteville's Main Street director] and she was very enthusiastic," he said.

Lake has recently been working on some indoor artwork for Emerald City, a new ice cream store in Fayetteville with a "Wizard of Oz" theme that has been emphasized by recent appearances from actors who portrayed Munchkins in the classic 1939 film.

Originally from Columbia, S.C., Lake has painted murals all over the country. Although he has no formal training, his father was a painter, and his own talent was apparent from a very early age.

"My mother caught me drawing on the walls of my room when I was a little boy," he said.

Now at age 28 with a wife and a young son, Lake is amassing an impressive portfolio. "I also paint on canvas and am trying to get together an arsenal of paintings for a gallery show," he said.

Most of his paintings are large due to his background in commercial art and sign painting.

"I'm really inspired by the 'New Deal' artists of the 1930s," he said. "Artists gave something to the community rather than having a painting in a collection for monetary value. That's why I like what I do so much, because it's for the entire community to enjoy."

Rich Hoffman of Hoffman Tire agrees. "I had a big, blank wall and wanted to do something everyone could enjoy," he said.

Price believes that the murals around town are giving Fayetteville a distinctive look.

"I would like to see that look continued," she said. "Should the appropriate space become available, I would entertain a proposal by Shannon Lake. His portfolio and his work speaks for itself."

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