A former bio-chemical engineer will soon be creating an art masterpiece on the side of the Italian Independent Social Club on West Crawford Avenue in Connellsville.
Glassport native Jeremy Raymer went to school for bio mechanical and then electrical engineering, and while he took a few studio art classes, including just one painting class, he never had any formal art training.
As a self-taught muralist, Raymer has been creating murals for about six years, although he has been painting on a smaller scale consistently since 2005.
It was a trip to Florida to visit his sister that inspired him to try the large-scale murals.
“My sister lives in the West Palm Beach area, and I was visiting her in August of 2013,” Raymer said. “We went to an art crawl that was centered around a congregation of murals and street art, and when I saw it all, I was just inspired.”
A large percentage of the murals were done with spray paint, so when Raymer got home he bought his first can of paint in the hue of Montana Gold.
He started off working on a 6-foot by 8-foot piece of art and then continued to go bigger and bigger.
His first larger scale portrait was of the 1920s impressionistic actor Conrad Veidt, who starred in “The Man Who Laughs” and who was the inspiration for DC comics’ character The Joker.
The rendering was 600 square feet and was painted on the side of his home at the time at 183 35th Street in Lawrenceville.
“There was a warehouse directly across the street and the owner saw me painting my house and asked if I wanted to paint on their building as well,” Raymer said.
There are now 12 to 15 renderings by Raymer on that warehouse.
Through some random connection, the artist more recently had the opportunity to paint a rendering of Roberto Clemente on the side of Verdetto’s Bar & Restaurant on Madison Avenue in Pittsburgh.
“I’m always on the lookout for public calls for art in the area and I came across the proposal (from Fayette County Cultural Trust) on Facebook,” Raymer said. “I had the right qualifications and this was a unique location. To date, this will be my largest mural ever.”
Daniel Cox, executive director of the Fayette County Cultural Trust, said they have been wanting to do a mural for a long time and with the location of the Italian Independent Social Club in regards to the bike traik, he said it was a key piece of property.
“Hopefully it will draw people’s attention to that area and bring them closer to the bridge (Crawford Avenue) and over to the other side as well,” he said, adding that the 4,000-square-foot mural will include Italian heritage and local history.
“We’re really happy that he’s able to do this,” Cocks said. “The building is a blank canvas really.”
This is not the only piece of art that is being planned for the city.
Cocks said they are also in talks with the building along East Crawford Avenue that houses Nicholson’s Chiropractic as well as possible pieces at the Edwin S. Porter theater in the Connellsville Community Center.
“We’re hoping to put all of these pieces of art together to make an art trail,” he said. “We already have a lot of art here and these will add another layer of art to Connellsville and hopefully get more people to walk the town and heighten the chance of them going to a store and spending some money.”
Raymer’s plans were to begin the project in mid-July, and he will be in the area for six to eight weeks creating the mural, depending on the weather.
“Hands down there will be way more cans of spray paint used than I’ve ever used before,” he said, adding that the most he’s ever used to this point has been around 200 cans, but estimates this project to take about 400 to 500 cans.