Texarkana muralist turns her talent into a full-time career

TEXARKANA, Ark. - Murals have a way of enhancing a city's landscape by adding personality and character.

While wall paintings have been around for centuries, they're growing in popularity because they add color and interest to areas that may otherwise go unnoticed.

If you drive downtown Texarkana, you may have noticed the bold bright-colored murals popping up all around town. Each mural is as unique as the artist who designed it.

Professional muralist Darlene Taylor has turned her talent into a career.

"I do love it. I really like it. This is something I didn't think I would be doing," said Taylor.

Taylor's mother taught her to paint as a child. She later developed that talent on a larger scale.

"I started in high school, really in ninth grade. I did murals in my high school. Every year, was decorate your door for homecoming. I would decorate our homeroom door and we would win every year," said Taylor.

After graduating high school, art and painting became a hobby. Until two years ago, when she quit her job to become a full-time professional muralist.

Texarkana muralist turns her talent into a full-time career

"I process it in my brain, then I look at the wall and I put what they want, but in a style I've painted in," said Taylor.

Taylor has 15 murals in De Queen and four in Texarkana, including sugar skulls and mariachi bands she just recently completed for a new business.

Taylor has always wanted to learn new techniques and loves sharing that knowledge with others through social media.

"I start from a blank wall. I show them the steps I've taken to reach the end result because most people don't realize that you can take a small picture and make it bigger," said Taylor.

Taylor also loves working with students like third grader Piper Garner.

"I get inspiration from a lot of trips I've gone on in the past," said Garner.

Arts on main hosted a three-day art wall camp in June. Taylor worked with more than two dozen students who painted more than 50 panels.

Texarkana muralist turns her talent into a full-time career

"We got them all painted because they wanted to do another one and another one. I had one child paint 8 panels by herself because she had so much fun in the class," said Taylor.

Just as Taylor was transitioning into a full-time artist, her husband, Andy, unexpectedly passed away. She says they often painted together.

Now all the murals Taylor paints are a legacy of love dedicated in his honor.

"He was so proud. I think he would be doing the same thing, he would say that's my wife, and I would just smile. I'm proud and he would be proud of me," Taylor said.

Since starting up her business, Taylor said she hasn't slowed down. She has plans to paint three murals this month and two more next month.


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