Muralist moves to Truckee |

Muralist moves to Truckee

At a time when local artists are struggling to keep their studios from closing, a muralist has relocated to Truckee to open new doors for the artisan community.

John Pugh has traveled the world, painting towns with life-size, three-dimensional murals as a way to communicate and interact with the public. Now, the existential painter is planting his roots in Truckee, hoping to help the local artisan community grow.

“It’s a dream come true to be here,” Pugh said of his new Glenshire studio and residence. “As I settle more into the community, I’m hoping I can pursue more public art opportunities.”

In the meantime, Pugh said he hopes to generate creative opportunities for the community by offering an internship for artists interested in his trade.

“I believe that teaching is part of the formula of helping your own work and style grow,” Pugh said. “I’m a strong advocate of the art community and I believe in freely sharing ideas with other artists.”

The apprenticeship would be flexible, and Pugh said he would prefer if interested applicants had experience.

Pugh said he recently completed a 50-by-100 foot mural project in Honolulu, which portrays the history and spirit of the island through a three-dimensional image.

Additionally, Pugh said he is currently working on a project in Sacramento, and a mural for the Del Oro Theater in Grass Valley celebrating the town’s mining heritage.

“I like the idea that murals aren’t just for an elite sector, but they’re for everyone to view as a powerful form of communication,” Pugh said.

After nearly a year of operation, the Truckee Gallery closed its doors last November after experiencing some financial uncertainty.

Despite attempts to continue the gallery through an online Web site, efforts have “gone by the wayside,” said fellow founder Mary Lou Cooper.

“The economy is affecting the art community in a negative way,” Cooper said. “Some of the artists are still talking about the project, but nothing has really happened.”

However, Cooper said she hopes Pugh’s arrival in Truckee will generate more attention and support toward local artisans.

“Anytime somebody with that kind of talent comes into town, the community and local artists can benefit,” Cooper said.

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