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Surf’s up: California artist Drew Brophy helping Furman art students paint murals

OCTOBER 5, 2012
by Jenn Summers ’13, Contributing Writer

Drew Brophy paints murals on the Furman trailer.

Drew Brophy, a professional graphic artist from California, is on the Furman University campus this week to teach art students a few of the tricks he has learned over the years and to help them paint murals on a cargo trailer that will be used to haul equipment to work sites along Poinsett Highway.

“We wanted to bring Drew here to work with our art students and help us create something visually striking on the cargo trailer,” said Ross McClain, chair of Furman’s Art Department.  “The students use the trailer as part of Furman’s involvement in the Poinsett Highway project, and we wanted it to be a symbol of the work we are doing there.  When people see that colorful trailer in their neighborhood, they will know there is something going on.”

Furman has been working with Greenville County officials on a project to revitalize Poinsett Highway, the corridor that connects the university to downtown Greenville.  The students travel to the Poinsett corridor throughout the year to work on various projects to beautify the neighborhoods.

Brophy has been on the Furman campus all week.  In addition to helping the students paint murals on the trailer, he delivered a lecture on campus titled “How to Thrive as a Professional Artist.”

“This is a great way for Furman students to get out in the community,” said freshman Ben Riddle, who is serving as part of the student leadership of the Poinsett Project and also serves as an intern under President Smolla.

Riddle played a key role in the mural project after recently traveling to Potsdam, Germany, to attend a conference about “design thinking,” a problem solving technique that uses artistic and creative methods to meet community-centered goals. Riddle collaborated with President Smolla and McLain to create this mural project. Ultimately, the trailer will serve as a pop-up studio and home base for community events, conversation circles, art demonstrations, service projects and design thinking workshops on the Poinsett corridor.

“We want this mural project to blur the lines between Furman and the community,” explained Riddle.

A green field serves as the mural’s backdrop, along with the Furman bell tower, rolling mountains in the distance, and other symbolic images, all completed by volunteers with donated paint and pens.

Brophy has been a professional lifestyle artist for over 25 years.  An avid surfer and world traveler, he is a well-known surf artist.   His original artwork is collected worldwide and he currently licenses his art images to over 30 manufacturers with about 300 different products in the marketplace.

The painting will continue until around 6 p.m. today. University photographer Jeremy Fleming has captured some images of the project.  View his work.

For more information, visit the artist’s website at http://drewbrophy.com/ or call Furman’s
Art Department at 864-294-2074.

(Media Relations Director Vince Moore contributed to this article)

Furman art students do their part in the mural painting.

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