Allyson and Jason Everett were dreaming big when they created a 68-foot-long mural on the side of Gainesville Paint in midtown.
In fact, the city’s newest mural features the words “dream big” on it with a mountain and sea theme on the side of the paint store, of which the married couple are part owners. Silhouettes of the Everetts’ two children, 8-year-old Harper and 10-year-old Hudson, are part of the mural, too.
The Everetts had been considering creating a mural for a couple of years, especially since Jason owns the building as well as the one next door that houses their business, Gainesville Flooring.
“We’ve always thought about it. And since we own the building (and) a paint store, it seemed like the right melding of ideas,” Allyson said.
Plus, they wanted to paint a picture to make people smile when they drove by. So, the Everetts used photos of other murals from their family travels around the world as inspiration.
“(Jason) pictured a little girl with a surfboard going up to a big wave,” said Allyson, noting her husband has always told their children to dream big. “It kind of started with his dream-big concept. We wanted something really positive. Nothing political.”
Jason said he wanted to inspire the community.
“We love Gainesville, we love this area,” Jason said. “I think bringing art to this area and the inspiration for what the mural is, is inspirational for kids.”
Before painting began in mid-February, the Everetts consulted teenagers Abby Panarelli and Cobyn Panarelli, the artistic children of their friends, for help.
“They had some great ideas,” Allyson said. “They were the ones who thought of having the mountains meld into the water.”
After brainstorming, Allyson sent Abby pictures of her sketches. Abby drew the mountains and the wave and her brother, Cobyn, digitized it.
Allyson said she knew she wanted the mural to be fairly “graphic design” in nature, as well as be Instagram-worthy to appeal to a younger audience.
“Then we used a projector and spent President’s Day weekend with our whole family and some friends, playing music and putting the blue painter’s tape up,” Allyson said. “We had lots of people stop by. We didn’t realize how much traffic this gets on a Friday.”
It took about four or five nights for the image to be traced onto the building at 662 Main St. in Gainesville.
“The tracing ended up being the most technical piece,” Allyson said. “Then it’s really just adult paint by numbers for our image.”
Brooks and Julie Clay and Jasmin Catalan helped trace and paint the mural, but they and the Everetts could only work after dark because they were using a projector. That’s when another inspiration hit, and the design changed.
The original design called for people based off of clip art, but while the children danced in the projector light, the Everetts got another idea.
“We came back one night and did a photo shoot of their shadows,” Allyson said. “So those are actually our children and then I kind of hand-sketched and fixed their faces.”
Because the Everetts own a paint store, getting the right colors was important. The shades of green and blue selected for the mural were meant to be sophisticated and subdued.
“At the end of the day, it still is the side of a business,” Allyson said, noting they completed the mural the week of March 23. “The one thing I’ve learned about this is, there’s a reason it’s called public art: It really does engage the public part. So you know people will have a strong opinion.”
It has already received attention from Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s wife. First lady Sandra Deal visited the mural after stopping at the paint store April 14.
“I love the idea of inspiring our young people to dream and to reach out and become who and what they want to be,” she said. “I like children to be able to choose what they like to do in life. This is a choice ... getting some sunshine and exercise is very important and being artistic. I think this is great, because it plants the idea that for people to see and to remind them they need to get out.”