Street artist Aaron Pearcy’s latest wall mural in downtown Rapid City will be a tall order.
Two stories tall, to be exact, and completed using only aerosol spray paint. Lots of cans of aerosol spray paint, so many that he cannot even estimate the final number.
Destination Rapid City has commissioned Pearcy, of Box Elder, to paint on the north side of the Elks Theatre building a mural depicting South Dakota Badlands.
"It's easily the biggest piece I've ever done," Pearcy said in an interview on Monday. "But I hope the canvases will keep getting bigger."
For now, this canvas is plenty big. The 960-square-foot mural will adorn a wall set back from but overlooking Botticelli’s Ristorante in the 500 block of Main Street. It will provide a backdrop for the Badlands-themed sculpture project at Main Street Square.
Arts Rapid City coordinator Anna Huntington said the spark came from a colleague who thought it would be great to paint a mural that reflected the theme of the sculpture project.
Pearcy said the mural will include an image of a movie projector to honor an agreement with Elks owner Curt Small and Destination Rapid City. Beyond that, Pearcy isn't saying much.
"That's just something the public's going to have to wait to see once it's finished," Pearcy said.
The project's $15,000 cost — including paint, rental of a 60-foot commercial lift and artist’s fees — is coming from the Bush Foundation Prize for Community Innovation, which Destination Rapid City received in 2014.
A portion of the wall is already showing a base coat of white primer.
“We’re excited to see some progress,” Small said. “It’ll be a nice touch to what was a blank wall.”
“I’ve seen some artist’s renditions, so I have a pretty good idea of what it might look like,” Small said. “But I also know the design is fluid.”
Pearcy's street art is well known in downtown Rapid City. Last year he painted a firemen mural on the patio wall of the Firehouse Brewing Company and has contributed artwork in nearby Art Alley.
“Aaron is one of our community’s super-talented young artists,” Huntington said. “He has done mural work all over Rapid City and Pine Ridge and worked in Boston and France.
“We have a relationship, and we knew he would have a good idea of what we wanted,” Huntington said.
Pearcy works for United Blood Services during the week, and he expects to spend weekends through the month of April on the mural, weather permitting, he said.
"The biggest challenge is just finding the time when the South Dakota winds won't be blowing," Pearcy said.
Another challenge might be how Pearcy copes with working atop a 60-foot boom lift.
"That's yet to be determined," he said.