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Visual Arts

‘Land’ ho!

Look, up in the sky! It’s local artist Rick Sinnett, working on ‘This Land,’ a mural adorning the outside of Rocktown Climbing Gym.

Liz Blood May 8th, 2013

Drive Interstate 40 just south of Bricktown, and you might see artist Rick Sinnett. He’s the one swinging from a rope anchored to the top of Rocktown Climbing Gym, wrangling a 5-gallon bucket of paint as he works on his latest mural, This Land.

Rick Sinnett
Photo: Shannon Cornman
Unless you’re up close and in person with Sinnett, you won’t see the globs of light blue paint in his hair and flecks covering his clothes and sunglasses, but you will see that same color covering the exterior of the onetime grain silo at 200 S.E. Fourth. Aqua is the base coat and is one of 15 colors that eventually will be applied to This Land.

“It seems like every color is in the mural,” said volunteer painter Thomas Surratt.

Sinnett, who grew up in Mustang, finds his inspiration in nature, and it shows in his work. In the top corners of This Land are leaves from the Catalpa tree, native to Oklahoma. In the middle, the sun sits behind the head of a bison. Wheat, a scissor-tailed flycatcher and the Oklahoma River all make an appearance, as well.

Aaron Gibson, Rocktown’s co-owner and president, is excited to have Sinnett’s mural on his site.

“I love the vibrancy,” Gibson said.

“It has a real attraction to it. This is going to make people turn their heads.”

Rick Sinnett
Photo: Shannon Cornman
Although Sinnett has been up on the wall only since mid- April, This Land has been in the works for two years as he planned, fundraised and worked with sponsors.

“This entire thing is being donated,” said Sinnett.

For example, The Red Cup coffeehouse is helping out by keeping Sinnett and his crew fed for the project’s duration.

And fed they need to be: Painters ascend the 100-foot wall using climbing equipment and their own strength, then they hoist a 40-pound, 5-gallon bucket of paint and a roller, which is tied to their rope at the bottom.

Once the base coat is on, they stand on scaffolding and hold one of the world’s largest stencils against the wall to paint, all while battling Oklahoma’s infamous, plain-sweepin’ winds.

Sinnett is excited to create, but also excited to complete — hoping to finish the entire south side by the end of June.

“That might be a little ambitious, but I want to finish this so it’s not mine anymore, but becomes the people’s,” he said. “Murals are good for the community. They give people something to take ownership of. And the neat thing about This Land is that there are people who see it unfold every day as they drive down I-40. They are experiencing it.”

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