Monday, November 16, 2009

The Mac & Retna at the Guthrie

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Salt Lake building gets mural makeover
November 16th, 2009 @ 4:02pm
By Anne Forester

SALT LAKE CITY -- Over the weekend two artists began spray painting the side of an old downtown Salt Lake City building. It's not vandalism, but a work of art. When it's done, a religious mural will grace the side of the building.

The side of the building at 160 E. 200 South is getting a face-lift. The wall was once covered by the old Gutherie sign, now something new covers the aged bricks.

"In the beginning a lot of people don't know what we're doing. Are we doing vandalism? Graffiti? They see the spray paint," says artist Retna.

Two artists, El Mac and Retna, are creating a mural of the Virgin Mary in their own style.

"It's kind of done in a modern way. Hopefully people--a lot of people--can enjoy it from all different backgrounds," Retna says.

It takes more than 80 cans of spray and acrylic paint to bring to life the artists' detailed vision. Surrounding the Virgin Mary are words in Latin.

"It's actually the Hail Mary, but it's just done in the Latin version, so it says Ava Maria," Retna explains.

The two artists haven't always created religious artwork; one artist started off a little bit differently.

"[I] started off doing graffiti, tagging, all the stuff you do as a rebellious youth," Retna says.

He says he always kept his eye on doing something more than just graffiti. He wanted to do work that had meaning.

The owner of Fice Gallery and Urban Boutique, Cory Bullough, hopes the mural will be a landmark piece for the city.

"Pretty much everybody who walks by stops for a couple minutes and tells us that it's looking good. It's not even halfway there, so it's coming along," Bullough says.

The artists say it's their way of giving back. They hope people in Salt Lake don't find it controversial, but instead enjoy the mural.