The new mural on the side of our Jiffy Lube located at 10390 N. Michigan Rd titled “In Bloom” features colorful and inclusive imagery that honors the connection we have with each other as well as our connection to nature. Created by NeKoda Witsken of Hue Murals, she hopes this mural inspires people to take a deep breath, grow their positivity, and be open to those around them.
We facilitated a Q&A with NeKoda to learn more about her, her art, and the vibrant mural she created for us and our community.
Q. Can you provide some background about you and your art style?
A. As an artist, I take inspiration from both the natural world and the communities with which I engage. My illustrative style and bright palette are emblematic of the hope and optimism I aim to inspire in those who view my work.
My color palette is influenced by the vibrant and dynamic landscapes of the post-Impressionists and the groundbreaking avant-garde work of the Fauves. While my style is representational, it is marked by a unique combination of abstract and realist elements. It is this combination that lends such visual interest to my mural compositions. By eschewing the declaration of one style over another, I am able to fulfill the needs of my clients while maintaining my own artistic license.
I take great pride in incorporating important themes in my murals. My portfolio includes murals that celebrate gender and racial diversity, advocate for environmental sustainability, and tell the stories of important historical events.
I am neither a history painter, nor a landscape painter, nor a portraitist; I am an artist of life and feeling. My art celebrates people and the communities they build, as well as the beauty of the natural landscape and its living inhabitants. You can find some of my favorite murals here at Slapfish, NCAA, Bottleworks, and Buck Creek Trail in Cumberland, IN.
Q. How did you decide on this particular design? How did the freedom to create whatever you wanted affect your concept?
A. I knew I wanted to paint empowered, diverse people in my design in terms of both gender and race. I made sure to include a nonbinary person as well as a Black woman and connected both to bright colors.
Since I wanted to make this design positive and hopeful while emphasizing our connection to nature and each other, I weaved in bright abstract designs along with elements in nature such as flowers, prisms, and leaves.
Having the power to create whatever I wanted felt like a breath of fresh, creativity-nurturing air. It’s not often that the Indy market lets you put figurative work in murals. Getting to symbolically portray the diverse residents of the area when they don’t get a chance to see their own races, genders, ages, etc. in local public art was an honor and something I deeply cared about reflecting in the design process.
Q. Did the location selection help you decide on the design concept?
A. Yes, the location 100% dictated the design. Without the retaining wall, we wouldn’t have been able to do the 3D cutout flower panel…and it’s one of my favorite aspects of our installation!
Due to restrictions with painting on brick, we turned to large panels to create a floated surface on which to paint. At the end of the day, the effect created a more cohesive piece!
Q. How do you feel now that the mural is complete?
A. It took me roughly two weeks to complete and I am so thrilled with it! I feel it’s some of my best work to date, and that wouldn’t have been possible without Jiffy Lube’s trust and the Arts Council’s support.
I’m very grateful to be a part of a program that has added almost twenty murals to Indianapolis so far.
Q. We want to extend a special ‘Thank You’ to the Indianapolis Arts Council for their support for our project. Can you share what the Arts Council has done to help you?
A. Julia Moore and the Arts Council team have been so helpful in making sure I have the tools and support I need to install my work safely. They’ve been so supportive in terms of marketing as well, which is invaluable to an emerging artist like me. They really supported my intended message of positivity and inclusion as well, which meant the world to me.