Artist Shaun Hogarth brightens up trail again

By on May 18, 2016
Shaun Hogarth in front of his latest mural on the Ephrata Rail Trail. It is the artist’s third multi-color mural to grace the trail.

Shaun Hogarth in front of his latest mural on the Ephrata Rail Trail. It is the artist’s third multi-color mural to grace the trail.

Shaun Hogarth’s routine lately included loading paint cans and brushes in his Honda Civic and lugging extension ladders down East King Street onto the Ephrata Rail Trail.

Hogarth last week finished up all the heavy lifting on his third, and most ambitious, multi-color trail mural that reads “Love is the Answer” in bold capital letters.

“This trail is for families, it’s for little kids and it’s for seniors and everyone coming out here getting their exercise,” he said, commenting on the positive elements of the trail that hasn’t always dominated conversation about the trail.

The new mural — 350 feet long and 10 feet high — was painted on a building technically known as the the King Street Complex. The majority of building is warehouse, distribution and manufacturing space and home to DN Printer Solutions.

It is owned by the Akron Group, principals Molly and Larry Sollenberger.

Hogarth said the Sollenbergers embraced the idea of doing the mural and agreed to purchase the materials needed, including up to about 200 cans of paint.

“I approached (the Sollenburgers), I tracked them down,” he said. “The building was a target for vandalism, over and over and over again,” he said. “I got tired of cleaning it up.”

Once the mural got started, the Sollenbergers also began repointing the bricks beneath the mural.

“There was never really a reason to do that before,” he said.

A once rusty, industrial structure, often tagged with terrible graffiti now sparkles on the walking trail near the basketball courts and benches on East King Street.

Mural colors include spa blue, berry pink, navy blue, brilliant blue, grape, French Lilac, colonial red, dark gray, gloss white and gloss black.

“This is the result, I think it looks a thousand times better than it did,” Hogarth said. “The response from the community and the people who’ve been out here on the trail while I’ve been out here has been phenomenal. The support has been overwhelming.”

Hogarth thanked his friend Justin Seuffert who assisted him in filling in the mural’s massive expansion. He praised Dan Buch, owner of ACI Construction, who this month turned over a parking lot on his property on Parkview Heights, for use by trail users.

“That’s what we need, more community minded people who will step up like that,” Hogarth said.

The mural is in a section of the trail where recent graffiti tagging and other misbehaviors have riled up neighbors — including an incident where 12-year-old girls tagged dozens of spots with black spray paint.

The incident outraged residents, many who suggested (on The Ephrata Review’s Facebook Page) the girls clean up their own mess.

While Hogarth couldn’t facilitate that request, he did the next best thing. On a Friday last month, one of the girls’ fathers approached him with the idea of having his daughter help him with the mural.

“I said sure, bring her down here at 11 and I’ll put her to work,” he said. “He brought her out, she was sitting here waiting for me when I showed up that Saturday.”

He said the girl left sun-burned and covered in paint.

“Oh, she did work,” Hogarth said.

A minor pet-peeve of Hogarth’s is the propane gas tank that sits to the left of the word “Love.” The tank is a bit grimy from previous graffiti tags that he’s covered many times.

He floated the idea to paint the tank a banana color and “transform” it into a “yellow submarine.”

Unfortunately, he was told the tank must remain white by the propane company.

“I wanted to put in small hedges to make them look like waves,” he said. “I wanted to make it a submarine because I feel that’s what it already looks like. I wanted to call it the S.S. Ephrata. It could be so fun.”

Hogarth, 37, has met scores of people on the trail while painting two other murals during the past two years.

Unlike the first two single-word murals “Smile” and “Laugh,” trail users this time around had to guess what the final sentence would read — he waited until last to paint the first word, “Love.”

“Love wasn’t put in yet and people kept coming up and asking what word’s going to be the answer,” he said. “I told everybody something different, I told one group of kids it was going to say ‘pizza.’ They thought it was the best thing ever.”

Check out Shaun’s other projects at www.facebook.com/keystonemurals

Patrick Burns is social media editor and staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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