This Is Utah | Tremonton Murals


– In Tremonton, art like
this mural is making what was old new again. It’s history on display
on a grand scale. We met the man behind
those gigantic canvases and he was kind enough to
put down his paintbrush to give us a walking
tour through time. (church bells chiming) – [Zach] So this is
your first mural then. – [Jason] First mural. – [Zach] Nice and you
did that all free hand. – [Jason] All free hand. – [Zach] And all your
murals are that way? – Mm-hmm, I don’t use a grid. For me I like to just step back, look at whatever photo I’m using and once you get a
couple of key points, then you just fill
in from there. – [Zach] How many
have you done since. – [Jason] I think
we’re at 11 right now. Soon to be 12. It was 2003 when Tremonton
City approached me about doing a mural,
the first one. And they wanted to
do the Midland Hotel that had burned down. And I was a little
frightened, you know. The prospects of painting
on a large building had never crossed my mind. So after the initial
first mural was done, I think there was a sense
of, hey, this is art. This not only makes
the spot look nicer, this gives something
to the community and so as more murals were done, I think that really caught hold. – Our murals are
what make us unique, especially I think, to Utah. There are murals in other cities but not to the
magnitude of quantity for our small size in helping us become the mural city of Utah. It started way back in the ’70s. There was a mystery muralist
that went around Tremonton, parts of Cache Valley. – I remember as a kid
ridin’ my bike by this one and then there was one
by the fire department. – Legend has it this mystery
muralist, he was a hippie, used his own hair to
create hair brushes and just went around,
found old buildings and painted murals on them. – You know, me and my
mother being artists, that was always fun
to see what was, the guy was painting. He did a lot of
scenes of mountains. It all had kind of a
feel of the Tetons, almost a legacy that he started. It’s been fun to kind
of re-inject that mural life back into Tremonton. (fire truck engine rumbling) So this is a local
volunteer fire department. It’s fun, I know a
lot of these guys. So it’s great, the city
asked me to do a mural of an old fire department
photo they have and then I changed the
trees in the background. They were boring in the photo so we made it look
almost like a fire. – My favorite mural has
always been the welcome mural. It gives you a feeling
like this is a small town, it’s a great community
and we welcome you here. – And you’ll see again it’s
sepia tone but I did add little, just titches of color like
in flags you’ll notice the– – So Tremonton City has won the
Best of State for public art for the past three
years, 2016, 2017, 2018. Three years in a row,
imagine that. (laughs) – So we’re gettin’ a good
legacy here goin’ with our arts and how many people would
actually stop in Tremonton, what’s the draw? Well now there’s some draw. – [Zach] To have the arts
in the area is a big thing, especially when we have
such an agricultural area. Sports are also a
huge thing here. – This is the North
Park sports mural. I like that I went to school with a lot of these
young ladies’ parents. The city wanted to do this to celebrate multiple
championships that the high school
softball team had won. – There’s been several
business owners that have also commissioned
Jason to paint murals. – I had Jason do this. This is a picture of my
family back when we were kids and I asked him if he could
do a picture of my family and he said yeah and he
sure did it, a great job. You know, I had some pictures
of my mom and dad back in ’46 and then on my bike. – [Jason] Do you
still ride that bike? – I still ride that
bike, still got it. This is my dad back in ’41. Dad is the one that got
us all ridin’ Harleys. We love Harleys,
American flag and U.S.A. We eat, drink and sleep America. There’s nothin’ he can’t do. It’s hard to be humble
when you’re good. (Jason laughs) So. – So I grew up here in Tremonton and have lived here
almost my whole life. I always tell the
Tremonton locals, you can’t get rid of me. I’m part of the community and
the community is part of me. This mural is actually
from a postcard of Tremonton’s Main
Street back in the ’50s. I do like that sense of place that comes when
you look at a photo and see what it was
and what it is today. For me I most like
painting the cars. They have such
character in the ’50s. They’re so colorful and it makes you wonder
why we don’t do that today. Now these over here, I’m
told one is a Ford Fairlane. The middle one is a ’57
Chevy, a Mercury or a Nash. They’ve got a little
detail work to be done before they look accurate yet. When you’re up on
the scaffolding you don’t step back
and look so often and sometimes you’re a
little off and you go, when you do step back you think, oh, all those hours I
spent, we gotta redo that. So in the photo that I’m using, the people here in the
street were very blurry and my wife said, when are you gonna put some
family members in there. ‘Cause I’d used
the local merchants and people who let
me use their restroom while I’m painting, you know. So I incorporated
some family members. So the gal in the red dress is Officer Nick Nessen’s
wife, Lindsay. The next one is my wife Linda and on the far end is
my daughter Ireland. This is Nick Nessen, my nephew, local police officer
of Tremonton. He’s gonna help me duplicate
the officer standing in the photo of the postcard. Stand a little
bit that way, yup. – [Police Radio Voice]
Five block, 10-30. – Yeah, left hand straight. That’s perfect. Okay, one, two, three. Thanks Nick. – We brag about Uncle
Jason and his paintings so I like being in it. I like being able
to drive by and say, hey, that’s me, you know. So that’s pretty cool and
I think it’s a pride thing for the city too. You know, it’s somethin’
we can show off that not every city around has. – Yeah, these’ll
be here a long time and to have a little legacy, have these things be remembered, that’s very enjoyable. You know, it feels
really good to be done with a mural after five months, a lot of evenings and weekends and the wife and kids
wondering where I am, when I’m gonna be
done with this thing. Yeah, phew, I’m
really glad it’s over. Ready for the next one. “This Is Utah” is made possible
in part by The George S. & Dolores Doré
Eccles Foundation The Utah Office of Tourism The Lawrence T. & Janet T. Dee
Foundation and the Contributing Members of
KUED. Thank you!

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