To keep the students of the Black Hawk School District safe, the school built a wall when entering the school.
“They built the wall about three years ago for security,” Art teacher Jessica Axon commented. “It was a big white open space.”
It wasn’t until an anonymous donor stepped in to fund an artist to come to Black Hawk and turn the wall from colorless to colorful.
Beau Thomas, born and raised in Green Bay, had a few issues with the law when he was younger.
“First time I got caught I was 15 and it was for painting businesses and walls I shouldn’t have. I was back in court at 21 for railroad graffiti,” Thomas mentioned about his past.
But his love for art took him to bigger and better places. He attended and graduated from UW-Green Bay, majoring in Fine Arts and Graphic Design, where he took his classes seriously.
“Art is just fun. I don’t think art should just be in museums or galleries. I think it has a lot of potential in the streets and neighborhoods. I just want to color my environment,” Thomas stated.
With the help of one of his classes, Thomas was able to start his own business, Trackside Design, homage to his past history with railroad tracks.
He has created upwards of 50 pieces of art annually from murals to canvas. Murals are his favorite art form.
“It is fun to work large and work outside and to make permanent paintings.”
He has completed dozens of murals, including projects for Red Bull, Badger State Brewing Company and a two-story project for the Green Bay Art District. He has worked with his previous art teachers that have gave him the opportunity to paint in the Green Bay Area Public School District.
“It has been fun to get into the education side and share this experience with kids and hopefully teach them something and get them excited. If I can give something back to them, then it’s a win-win.”
This project at Black Hawk, done with his entire supply of 200 paint cans in tow, has several different concepts that students might learn in school, including the U.S. Capital, the Earth, a rocket ship, the Statue of Liberty, the symbol for pi, letters and numbers and plenty of other subjects.
“I did some brainstorming and thought of all these different ideas from school subjects then I made a rough initial sketch and then I went to the wall and then things changed a little bit. I like to be flexible and spontaneous when I work. It’s good to just work with what you got and change as you go.”
It took Thomas a week to finish the mural, starting on Monday, March 13 and finishing Saturday, March 18. He worked through the night in protective clothing and mask, so not to breathe in the fumes from the spray paint. And what transformed was a true masterpiece.
“I love what I do. I think my job is a dream come true,” Thomas said with a smile.
For more information on Beau Thomas and to check out more of his work and/or purchase any work, go to www.tracksidedesign.com.