News

Colorful addition to downtown

Washington artist finds his canvas on side of building

Martin Cardenas painted a base coat on the wall as a primer for the graffiti. The new mural features flowers, a butterfy and more. (Caitlin Yamada/ The Union)
Martin Cardenas painted a base coat on the wall as a primer for the graffiti. The new mural features flowers, a butterfy and more. (Caitlin Yamada/ The Union)
/

WASHINGTON — In small towns, changes are apparent.

Washington’s newest change can be spotted from blocks away.

Over the weekend, a mural slowly grew on the side of Nailz & Hair Too on the south side of the square.

For years, building and salon owner Kim Wood has been interested in graffiti and thought it would look nice on the side of her building. She wanted something happy, positive and flowery.

Wood knew her upstairs tenant, Martin Cardenas, is interested in art

She has seen pictures of his work over the last four years. Recently, when looking at pictures he had drawn, she had an idea.

“I thought, ‘Could you paint my wall?’” Wood said.

Wood said it was both what they needed — a canvas for him, and the mural she always wanted.

Originally from Chicago, Cardenas said he isn’t an artist professionally but has always been interested in art.

Though he used to do graffiti, this was the first large mural he has done.

Wood said she gave him freedom to paint what he wanted, but many of the items mean something to her.

Though the hummingbird was Cardenas’ idea, Wood said it has a lot of meaning, reminding her of her father who has died.

“Every step I was so excited,” Wood said.

Cardenas first painted a base primer and then drew over it with spray paint, to make it last longer. From Friday to Sunday, he worked to complete the mural.

People shouted compliments out of their car windows as they drove by.

Wood said she had no idea the mural would impact people in such a positive way. Many people have been posting and sharing photos of the mural on Facebook.

The mural features the phrase “Carpe Diem.”

Wood said it means seize the day, something she made a life change to follow.

“When I pull up to work it is a reminder every day,” Wood said.

She said Cardenas has already gotten a lot of jobs from the mural, and she hopes that it will lead to a career.

“It is beautiful,” Wood said. “It’s perfect and will stay there forever.”