Since our Jiffy Lube Murals project began in 2016, we’ve had several requests by our guests to have one painted at our South Bend location. With the help and talent of Alex Ann Allen, a South Bend native, we’re proud to have her ‘Vortex’ mural painted at our S. Michigan St. store.
We recently learned more about Alex’s art history and aspirations and are thrilled to share more about her, her art, and this immersive mural she created for our public art project.
Q. Can you tell us a little about you and your art?
A. I’m a 28-year-old self-taught artist. May will mark three years of creating full-time and living off of my artwork. I got to where I am today by teaching myself, learning from other artists I look up to, asking questions, and of course putting in the work. I truly feel like I’m just starting and that is simply the best feeling in the world because the possibilities are endless and I have so much I want to accomplish, bring to communities, and create.
Q. How did you decide on the design of the ‘Vortex’ mural?
A. My design, ‘The Vortex’, started out as a big puzzle piece. I drew the design first on my iPad using multiple perspectives, grids, and gradients before painting the wall. I wanted to make it an immersive experience for the viewer, to make you feel like you could walk into it.
This is one of the first projects where I was able to use as much detail as I wanted with full artistic freedom. That means the world to me. I’m moving towards a futuristic style right now with my work, combining geometric elements with these grids and gradients. My intent is to make you feel something when you drive by. I seek to uplift others with my colorful work and to bring life to public spaces.
Q. What was your process for painting the mural?
A. It took me six days to complete the mural. I rented a boom lift for seven days so I timed out my sections to stay on schedule. I like to wake up early when it’s cooler, take a break in the early afternoon and then paint for a few more hours in the late afternoon.
I didn’t want to be rushed on the final day because I wanted to take it all in and add any necessary details. Plus I took my time and got some great photos of the mural while I was high up on the lift.
The mural was painted entirely in spray paint. I used nearly 90 cans to complete the mural.
Q. What does it mean to you to be able to paint in your hometown of South Bend?
A. Bringing public art to South Bend means the world to me. Lifting others up during their commutes to work and beyond, and maybe even inspiring future artists along the way gives me purpose. I’ve been beyond grateful for the opportunities I’ve been receiving in town these last few years.
I’m currently curating a mural festival that will take place next summer in South Bend called “Mural Mania”. I want to bring other artists to town with different styles and techniques to help continue to brighten up our public spaces and inspire the community. We have a great team organizing this, stay tuned!