Hutchinson-based mural artist creates public art across the country
Driving through Kansas small towns, it’s easy to predict a few common features nestled along the main street. A grain elevator. Subway restaurant. Gas station of some kind. Bare brick, concrete, or vinyl-sided walls.
Hutchinson artist Brady Scott sees those bare walls as blank canvases that have the potential to instill pride and a sense of place for stubbornly humble Kansans.
“There’s a lot of value in taking pride in where you live. I think that you make it what it is and to me Kansas is a blank slate, there’s a lot of blank walls.”
He has completed mural projects all over Kansas and the U.S., including in Wichita, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Flint, and Brooklyn.
During the summer of 2021, Visit Hutch commissioned Brady to create a mural honoring signature Kansas themes–the meadowlark, sunflowers and wheat, and a stunning sunset behind the Hutchinson skyline. The bigger than life artwork extends up the concrete entry building that greets Kansas State Fair visitors.
As someone who lived in Arizona until 4th grade, Brady said he has a unique appreciation for the charm and history of Kansas.
“I love the prairie. I see the beauty in it–it’s a quiet beauty. You’re very close to nature no matter where you are in Kansas,” he said. “You can feel a lot of the history here and a lot of the towns haven’t changed much. You walk through alleys and see old electric components, brick streets, abandoned buildings, coal shoots.”
For the To The Stars State Fair mural (created in part with grant funding from Kansas Tourism) and all his other public art work, Brady divides the finalized art rendering into sections and uses a grid system to construct each part of the painting.
He employs professional grade spray paint, together with acrylic and UV blockers to prevent fading. He has discovered that a proprietary combination of spray and acrylic paints make the perfect texture that leaves the final product with a distinctive look.
Though murals can be created on surfaces of all kinds, Brady said they are almost never smooth. Working outside and on materials made to be outside brings different challenges than working in a climate-controlled studio on mediums specially made for paint.
Brady says he paints for the experience of it, leaving the meaning of each piece open to interpretation. However, he hopes people who see his murals feel good things, such as inspiration and a sense of place.
“There’s a lot of people that pass over the Midwest, but there’s tons of amazing people like artists, musicians, writers, and I want everyone to be proud of being here,” he said.
He said he’s honored to be part of the public art movement that’s taking shape around the world seeking to foster community identity, a sense of belonging, and pride.
“This is my generation’s art movement and that’s one of the reasons it’s so exciting to be part of it,” he said. “Murals seem to light up a neighborhood. It’s hard to sell it when it’s not there because people don’t understand it. But once it’s there they say ‘oh I get it now, it makes my day on the drive to work.’ They start taking photos in front of it.”
In celebration of Kansas Day 2022, Brady created a custom piece of art modeled from the Hutchinson To The Star mural. The artwork is available in a limited run of shirts and prints available at the Kansas Tourism merchandise store.