Indianapolis-based artist, Dan Handskillz (Thompson), recently designed and painted the mural at our Eastgate store at 355 N. Shadeland Ave. The mural boasts a bright and friendly design but the concept may be more than what meets the eye.
About the Artist:
Dan discovered graffiti as a teenager and although he didn’t recognize his talent at the time, he was captivated by the art and the subculture which was revolutionizing large-scale public murals. He studied at Herron School of Art which led him into a 10-year career as an illustrator in the fields of advertising, marketing, animation, product design, and branding.
In his spare time, he became the co-founder of the Indy-based crew called the FAB Crew (Fantastic Aerosol Brothers) where he would act as the art director and muralist completing several well-known murals in Broad Ripple, Fountain Square, and Mass Ave.
In 2018 his focus shifted into solo projects where he continues to paint large-scale murals across the state. You may recognize some of Dan’s work at Hot Box Pizza, Upland in Fountain Square, Murphy Art Centre, The Whit, Artistry Apartments, and more.
Seeing Eye to Eye:
Dan’s creative process often begins with a list of concepts, ideas, or specific images that have to be interpreted in the design. Since the Jiffy Lube Murals project allows the artists to have creative freedom to paint what they would like it becomes a rare experience that is both exciting and challenging.
“This mural is extremely meaningful to me,” says Dan. “I take pride in designing my own characters and paying homage to graffiti style wherever I can. In that sense, this is among my most original works of art.”
The location of the mural is also the neighborhood Dan grew up in. It’s an area where people encounter each other on foot all the time, so Dan wanted to reflect that.
“This area is familiar to me from my upbringing, but public art is a rare sight unlike the trendy and more economically robust neighborhoods where much of my work can be seen,” says Dan. “This is my attempt to bridge the two worlds which have given me so much in spite of being so separate. I wanted this to be something anyone could enjoy regardless where they’re coming from.
In the Public Eye:
You can find Robots in several of Dan’s work. He likes to use them to reflect human qualities.
“In the case of all commercial art but especially murals; things like gender, race, or body type are subject to any number of preconceived notions that don’t apply to robots,” says Dan.
The ‘Eye 2 Eye’ mural, which took around 60-75 hours to complete, reflects a chance encounter between two passing strangers who appear to be very different but upon looking each other in the eye they discover one thing they have in common—green eyes.
“I see my robots as scavengers, adding parts and upgrading themselves as they move along; not unlike us,” Dan says. “With feral cats being literal scavengers, I saw a parallel between the two. I wanted to show an encounter between two roaming strangers and despite all of their differences, they recognize something in each other. Maybe they’re not so different after all.”