WILTON, Iowa–“Ever since I was a kid, I was always drawing,” said Wilton resident Paul Marquez. Throughout his school days, Marquez took every art class he could, and even considered applying for a spot at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago following high school. Though he never ended up studying art formally, Marquez always found creative outlets, from designing the art for a band he played with to working as a self taught tattoo artist for ten years.
Now an employee of WTC Communications, Marquez stumbled upon one of the biggest art opportunities he ever had while on the job. About a year ago, Marquez and his supervisor worked to clear old telephone lines from the roof of one of downtown Wilton’s restored buildings. As Marquez looked at the buildings upper wall he thought, “that would be a very cool building to paint a mural on.”
He snapped a photo of the wall, and printed it out that night when he returned home. He then sketched his idea for a mural that would bring the space to life directly on the photo. “The bubbles immediately came to mind,” he recalls. Once finished, Marquez’s drawing featured beautiful translucent bubbles blown by a young woman. To highlight the building’s beautiful old construction and give the woman a natural look, he painted only her outline on the building, letting the bricks become her skin.
Pleased with his draft, Marquez showed it to the building’s owner, an acquaintance of his who lived nearby. For several months, the two went over different design ideas until they settled on the final mural. Once the building’s owner gave the project the green light and purchased materials, Marquez quickly went to work. In all, it took him a month to complete his mural.
Once Marquez finished the mural, he loved what he saw, and the building’s owner did too. He liked it so much that he asked Marquez to extend the mural down to the bottom of the building. At the time, Marquez had just seen the finished interactive mural on the side of Pearl City Tattoo in Muscatine and wanted Wilton’s newest mural to feature interactive components too.
To that end, Marquez painted many more bubbles along the lower wall as well as a bubble wand at just the right height for a young child. Since its completion, many kids have come out and had their picture taken with the new mural. Marquez encourages everyone to stop in Wilton and see his mural, which sits at the corner of Cedar and Fourth Streets, and to make sure to look up to get the full effect.
Reflecting back over the project, Marquez could not feel prouder of getting to add public art to his community. “I’ve never had an opportunity to do something of this magnitude,” he shared. “Besides being a husband and father, I live and breathe this stuff.”