Kyle Ragsdale, a local Indianapolis artist, created a unique mural that invokes a sense of curiosity in the viewer. This mural can be admired on the exterior of our East Washington Street location. This public art project is another installation in collaboration with the Arts Council of Indianapolis – The Every Part Matters Mural Project.
1. Some of the Characters are Inspired by the History
Did you catch a glimpse of George Washington in the boat? The answer is, yes! Kyle included George because the mural was originally influenced by the oil painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware by artist Emanuel Leutze in 1851.
George Washington Carver is also portrayed in the mural. Carver was a world-famous chemist who made important agricultural discoveries and inventions. His research on peanuts, sweet potatoes, and other products helped poor southern farmers vary their crops and improve their diets.
The question remained, who else would be in the boat?
2. The Narrative Is Up To You
The boat has a polar bear, a black sheep, two giraffes, and a goose. In an intertube floating in front in an innertube is a monkey and two white bunnies. In addition to all the animals, the human characters include a nun, a Marie Antoinette-esq character, and a man in a tall hat.
“All of these characters help to invoke a sense of the unknown story to engage each viewer in their own ideas and story,” said Kyle. “The other figures were not meant to be specific people but to help the viewer imagine a story or situation where all these beings might be in a boat.”
3. This Isn’t Kyle’s First Boat Mural in the City
Kyle painted a mural called Hoosier Hospitality on the Boatload of Knowledge along the canal in downtown Indianapolis several years ago for the nationally renowned 46 for XLVI murals initiative.
That mural paid homage to an event that happened right here in Indiana. In 1862, a 92 –foot-long keel boat traveled from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to New Harmony, Indiana to create a utopian society. The boat carried passengers from all walks of life. Kyle wanted to depict the Hoosier hospitality that he felt when he moved to Indiana.
“The Washington St. mural was also inspired by the team at Jiffy Lube,” said Kyle. “They were super friendly, helpful, and encouraging and also a diverse team working together each day to do a good job.”
4. The Textured Brick Turned Out to be a Key Part of the Mural
At first, Kyle thought about creating the yellow background on-site and then painting the boat and characters in his studio and attaching them to the background later.
“When I started painting the brick I enjoyed the way the texture of it made the painting feel more pixelated,” said Kyle. “I decided to paint the entire mural on site.”
Warm romantic colors were selected to differentiate from the multitude of signs and advertising that surrounds the location. The sky around the boat is made up of patchworks of gold, yellow and ochre.
Together with Kyle’s assistant, Mathew Allen, a recent graduate from Indiana Wesleyan University, the mural was hand-drawn and painted mostly with thick rollers of various sizes.
To learn more about Kyle Ragsdale you can connect with him here:
Studio: Studio 13 at the Harrison Art Center.
The 2019 mural artists and locations are:
Pamela Bliss: 7965 N U.S. 31, Indianapolis, IN 46227
Christina Hollering: 7619 E 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46256
ISH (Ismael Muhammad Nieves): 8580 N Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN 46268
Megan Jefferson: 7825 E. US 36, Avon, IN 46123
Additional artists and mural locations include:
Blend Creative Minds — 5444 W. 38th Street (International Marketplace)
Carl Leck — 8175 Allisonville Road (Castleton)
Craig Martin — 2 S. Earl Avenue (Lafayette)
William Denton Ray — 6275 N. Keystone Avenue (Glendale)
Barbara Stahl — 1280 N. Green Street (Brownsburg)
Shamira Wilson Young — 5630 N. Georgetown Road
Justin Cooper – 1495 Keystone Way S, Carmel
Ethan Culleton – 6401 N. College Ave (Broad Ripple)
Ellen Forney – 1840 E. 151st St., Carmel