Northwestern alum Mark Alsum used his artistic skills this summer to paint a new mural. The Orange City Arts Council commissioned the mural, which lies between Central Avenue and Albany Avenue and features the bright colors of outlined tulips between trees and blue sky. It is a brilliant reflection of the culture of Orange City, which is intrinsic and valuable to its residents, Dutch heritage and to the artistic abilities around NW.
Mark Alsum got involved in murals when the Orange City Arts Council displayed an interest in having murals on its walls. “The arts council put out a call for artists and I responded,” Alsum said. “There are not a lot of mural artists in the area, so I don’t know if I had the better designs or just no competition. But either way, they let me do it.”
Alsum used a variety of mediums to complete and conceptualize his vision for the project. Alsum has a unique artistic methodology and process.
“Usually it starts with some concept drawings in pencil and ink. Then I may use source photos with an editing program to drop in colors or different ideas all the while keeping the perspective accurate. Then I apply a simple to-scale grid to the design and do the same to the wall and then draw or paint the rough outline of the design on the wall, then I fill it in.”
Alsum’s murals have “brought art to the area.” When asked about his goals as an artist, Alsum said, “Besides the murals, I just try and find any other public works in Orange City. Even NW’s campus is severely lacking in this regard. If it doesn’t do anything for me, hopefully it will pave the way for other artists and artwork. I have no idea what people get out of it, I just hope they get something. Whether it makes them think, makes them happy, or notice their surroundings a little more. I don’t even care if they get mad or pissed that I “ruined” another perfectly nice white wall. At least they’re engaging.”