MUSTANG — Rick Sinnett is accustomed to painting in public spaces, but the Mustang Public Library is a bit different.
For starters, it’s the first mural he has painted inside a library and one of the first he has painted indoors. But the Mustang native had no trouble finishing the artwork, which covers a 60-foot wall in the children’s area of the library.
The mural includes a scissor-tailed flycatcher, the state bird, along with the state wildflower, the Indian blanket. There are also two mustangs to recognize the city where he painted the mural.
“Painting inside has its own set of challenges,” Sinnett said. “Normally I don’t have to put down a drop cloth or tape things up. Usually I have music playing. But it’s nice. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of painting inside a library. It’s a community-based environment, and that is good chemistry with public art.”
Visitors asked him questions while he worked, and Sinnett said he enjoys answering them.
Sinnett is beginning to get a following statewide. He painted a mural on a flower shop in Mustang several years ago, and about six months later, the building was heavily damaged by severe weather and was ultimately torn down. But enough people saw it beforehand to help Sinnett, who makes his living as an artist, get additional painting commissions.
Sinnett decided while in middle school that he would be an artist. A visiting artist spent two days in his class on a project. Little did Sinnett know he would work with that artist on projects as an adult.
“Bert Seaborn came to our class to do a demo, and I just admired him so much,” Sinnett said. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do for a living. I’ve been able to work with him quite a bit since then, and I’ve let him know why I picked this career path.”
Public Art 66
Sinnett has painted murals in three cities along Route 66 as part of his Public Art 66 effort, including one in Tulsa. Plans call for 11 murals to be painted along the iconic highway.
“When we did the first mural in Tulsa, we thought, why not do a series of these from border to border,” Sinnett said. “I picked out the locations, and we’ve done three of them. They are spaced in such a way that it encourages people to take a journey.”
Sinnett said the goal of any public mural is to catch people’s eye with the hope they will learn more about the subject and increase their enjoyment of art. He said he especially enjoys painting murals that all Oklahomans can appreciate.
“I try to go into communities and paint things that are interesting,” he said. “When you go into rural towns and try to paint something that is public, they usually want something that represents the community,” Sinnett said. “But what I’ve found is there is always a little controversy. Somebody thinks this or that should be on it, or that person should not be on it. I like thinking about the state as one community. I want people to have a reason to pull off the road and look at a mural.”
Sinnett’s latest effort can be viewed inside the library at 1501 N Mustang Road.