For 15 years, Steve Wood displayed his exceptional, detailed portraits at Art at the Market. “I was a vendor and artist there since 2006,” he remembers. “In 2009, I became board president and I continued in that position until April of 2021.” His dedication to the gallery was appreciated by his fellow artists. Recently, he left the gallery and his position due to new family and work obligations; but there was one more thing he wanted to do. “I’ve been painting murals for nearly 25 years and when the gallery moved to its new location in the Flint Farmers’ Market, an opportunity presented itself.” A new room for the gallery was built, complete with a blank wall – or to an artist, a canvas. “It was a giant space and I felt it would be a sin to leave it empty,” he explains.
For years, Wood wanted to paint an homage to his favorite artists and he took this chance to make it happen. Welcoming Farmers’ Market patrons to the gallery is a mural featuring eight artists who defined the medium, either in visage or a representation of their famous works. Art lovers will easily recognize the faces of Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dali, and the art of Vincent Van Gogh, Leonardo Davinci, M. C. Escher, Grant Wood and Ernie Barnes. Tucked away at the bottom of the mural is an image everyone will recognize as the logo of the legendary painter and TV host, Bob Ross. “Ross was an afterthought,” says Wood. “Originally, the plan was to represent just seven artists but when I was finished, I noticed that I had some more space. Someone suggested Ross and I thought he would be the perfect way to finish it.”
Wood has been a part of the gallery for a long time and is honored to be able to leave his mark on the new location. “It’s been a labor of love,” he says. “I started the mural in October of 2021 and finished it this April. I wanted to paint something everyone will appreciate and recognize that attracts people to the gallery.”