For the love of art

In a little room at 2500 Place in North Newton, there?s art all over the walls. The nondescript, plain wooden door leading to the space doesn?t give a clue as to the creative ideas that flow throughout it, whether they?re in visual, verbal or cerebral form.
Paintings on canvas adorn the walls, and someone literally has painted art all over one wall. One canvas painting, which also has a vehicle and skateboarder on it, says, ?Let?s get together and feel alright.? A pencil drawing says, ?Let your mind go; see where it takes you.?
Those seem to be the sentiments of a newly formed mural group that meets there. The room is a studio for local artist and photographer Sara Ensz, and Free Flow, the group?s name, meets there because of a shared love of art.
The assembly, made up of young adults, is the brainchild of Terra Scott of Newton.
?This group was, for me, a way to stay in Newton,? Scott said. ?I had been traveling a lot and discovering places more colorful, diverse and exciting to be. I wanted to get the heck (out of) Dodge, I mean, the Midwest, but couldn?t leave because of financial reasons and the relational ties that I value more than anything else. I had discussed the idea of a mural team at different times with most of the members of the group, and suddenly it dawned on me ? well, it?s about time.?
So, Scott messaged ?kinda artsy people? on Facebook about the idea of a group doing murals, group member Ensz said. They decided to meet and collaborate their creative ideas. Scott contacted five people, and those people contacted others. As of now, the group, in addition to Scott and Ensz, has several members including Jennifer Piland, Brandon Unruh, Andrew Thompson, Jacob Maldonado, Gustavo Palacios, Edward Davila, Bierly Aboite and Robert Nugent.
?Each of us have our own role in this and our own style,? Ensz said.
?I feel like Terra has a very abstract (style), and it has an eco-friendly feel to it,? Palacios said, adding all the members? artwork has a ?go-green? vibe.
Ensz said Palacios is good at lettering. In fact, he did the lettering for the El Jarrito restaurant sign on North Main Street in Newton. He also has some of his work at the Newton Bike Shop on West Sixth Street. His work can incorporate scraps of electronics, old phones, old gadgets, computers and other items. He also has work in San Antonio and Austin, Texas. Another of Palacios? talents includes being able to locate places that want murals painted.
Other examples of members having specific talents are Unruh, who is good at making sure designs are ready, and he was called a perfectionist by another member, and Aboite, who has talent with clay. Scott said she works primarily in black-and-white line design but also enjoys other mediums, as well. The group has discussed the possibility of having a show where all members can display their work.
?We?ve noticed we each have our own (art) style,? Palacios said.
So far, they?ve painted a mural inside Island Blue, a Newton restaurant. The mural is a beach scene with a sunset and a silhouette of palm trees.
?We just went to town on that day,? Ensz said of the group?s first project.
They acquired all their supplies that morning, which included paint, brushes and a projector.
?We were just vibing together, and it came together very well,? Aboite said.
The group meets once or twice a week, and when they don?t have anything to talk about, they start drawing. One time, they did a ?thought poster.? They also come up with ideas for murals, and Ensz said their main function is to splash some color around. Anyone who wants to is welcome to join the group. For more information about Free Flow, visit the group?s like page on Facebook.
?We try to meet when we can,? Ensz said. ?We?re all pretty good friends. Terra has said we?re all an art family. It?s fun to just come and hang out. I feel like there?s such good vibes when we?re together. We just feed off of each other.?
The group?s instigator, Scott, does enjoy the camaraderie.
?What I like most about this group is having a family right here of the type of people I most wanted to leave town to seek ? colorful, progressive, alternative-thinking individuals, people passionate about beauty and inspiration,? she said.
Right now, the mural group isn?t charging for their services.
?We?re doing it more for the love of art,? Palacios said.
?We don?t ask for money, but we kinda suggest that the supplies be donated to us,? Ensz said.
Free Flow members credit Newton High School art teacher Raymond Olais as helping them ? he?s given them tips and loaned them a project. Another person, Andy Ortiz, has given Palacios ideas on who to talk to about having murals painted and about how to present the group.
?He?s also given me examples of art districts, and he?s given me an idea of starting an art district in Newton,? Palacios said.
The artists have favorite artists and/or artists they look up to.
?We all kind of look up to Mr. and Mrs. O,? Ensz said.
Mr. and Mrs. O are Patrice and Raymond Olais, art teachers at NHS.
In addition, Ensz and Thompson like Salvador Dali, while Palacios draws inspiration from a graffiti art crew in San Antonio, called Rebels ?Til Death, which is an urban art group that?s had art shows. They show their rebellion through art.
?Which is a very peaceful way of doing it,? Palacios said.
Another of Thompson?s favorite artists is Ed Templeton, a skateboarder, who creates art for skateboards, he said. Around 1993, Templeton and several other skateboard artists started showing their art outside the skateboarding context, according to Templeton showed his work at New York City?s Alleged Gallery, which ?eventually enabled many artists to transcend the tag of skateboard artist,? the website stated.
The group is looking to the future.
?We have been planning a collaboration of all of our minds,? Scott said. ?I am really excited for it to come together.?
Palacios believes the group is waiting for a big project.
?I feel like we?re all waiting for that big wall, that big job,? he said. ?I feel like we can start a culture here. There?s a culture stirring up, and art ? it hasn?t been fed to the people yet.?

Photos and Story by?Wendy Nugent

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