- January 1, 2020
- By Erin Davidson
- In Growing People Through Work, Mural Project
- Tags Arts Council, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Community Partners, Indianapolis Artist, Indianapolis Public Art, Jiffy Lube Murals, Mural Project, Murals, Pamela Bliss, Pathway To Public Art, Public Art, Public Art Project
You are given one rule when you create a mural for the Every Part Matters public art project: The theme and subject are your choice and should not focus on any aspect of Jiffy Lube’s business.
When given this creative freedom to paint what she wanted, Pamela Bliss chose to depict the importance of bees and their drastic drop in population in her 33-foot mural at our southside US 31 location.
How You May Already Know Pamela Bliss
You may recognize Pamela’s artwork from several large murals scattered around Indianapolis. She painted the mural of writer Kurt Vonnegut on Mass Ave and jazz icons Wes Montgomery and Freddie Hubbard on the Musicians Repair and Sales Shop for the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI mural program.
Photo by Frank Episch
Pamela has created hundreds of murals, portraits, and canvas work, including the 60-foot-tall mural of Pacers legend Reggie Miller. The mural scales six stories on a downtown Indianapolis building. In the fall of 2019, she painted a tribute mural of John Mellencamp in his hometown of Seymour, Indiana. Mellencamp himself stopped by to autograph the wall!
Photo provided by Pamela Bliss
She was also selected as one of the artists to paint on the Oscar-nominated animated film “Loving Vincent.” It is the first-ever, hand-painted, full feature film and was created over six years by 125 international artists in Poland.
The Importance of Giving Artists Creative Freedom
Since 2016, our Every Part Matters mural project has brought beautiful art to the exterior walls of our stores and has helped Indiana artists grow through their work (an extension of our award-winning Growing People through Work program)! The murals help beautify the communities in which our stores reside and continue conversations about the importance of local art.
The artists use this creative freedom as an opportunity to spread the message about subjects that are important to them. It’s a constant reminder that we can all learn and grow through public art.
“Clients usually already know what they want,” said Pamela. “I have a little room for artistic license but it is usually much more limited. The Jiffy Lube mural allowed me to focus on a subject I, and many others, are concerned with regarding the environment, and more specifically, how it is affecting the bee population.”
Pamela Urges Us to ‘Bee Mindful’
Pamela originally submitted a design featuring bees because she wanted to portray their importance to the environment and the issues with their declining population due to herbicides, pesticides, and urbanization. She kept thinking about changing her design and submitting a new idea, however, she received some extra encouragement from the bees. While painting another mural, a bee came and gently landed on her hand.
“It startled me and I flicked it away because it had been 22 years since a bee had come around while I was painting a mural,” Pamela said. “When I painted my very first large mural, they wouldn’t leave me alone. And then nothing until this moment.”
After a while, a second bee came and gently landed on her hand. And then again, a third bee softly sat down on her hand.
“It was so gentle, and oddly felt almost lovingly,” said Pamela. “I thought maybe I should rethink doing the bee design.”
The next day when Pamela started to paint again she discovered a dead bee lying at her feet. She felt this was her sign that she must do the bee painting.
“Bees have been voted the most important beings on the planet,” Pamela continues. “When they are gone, everything else is, too. So my other mural idea will have to wait because this is an important time to do this.”
About the Mural’s Symbolism
True to her style, Pamela depicted an illusion of the wall breaking open to reveal a honeycomb, with several bees in various states of maturity flying out from it. The final “bee” is a baby in a bee costume holding a heart balloon, to indicate the importance of bees to human life. The bees appear to be flying towards a giant sunflower, with a world globe in its center.
You can connect with Pamela through the following channels:
The Arts Council of Indianapolis is again partnering with Jiffy Lube of Indiana to commission artworks in central Indiana in 2020. Five artists will be selected to incorporate their own original artwork onto walls provided by Jiffy Lube in locations around Marion County. The new artworks will serve to further Jiffy Lube’s mission of “growing people through work” as well as beautify the communities in which the stores reside, and create a sense of place. For more information about the mural program, visit the project website.