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Bay City artist leaving his mark on downtown Alpena

Bay City artist Mark Piotrowski poses in front of his mural.

ALPENA — This colorful mural represents the ever-changing journey of life. Bay City artist Mark Piotrowski is honored to be able to leave his mark on downtown Alpena.

“I am honored to be one of the featured artists,” Piotrowski said of the Fresh Waves project.

Fresh Waves is a public arts initiative to bring new, vibrant artwork to the downtown district. The mural is being painted on the side of Salon 125, located at 125 E. Chisholm St. Fresh Waves launched in 2019 by the Alpena Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

Piotrowski is excited because this painting came from his own heart and mind.

“It’s just my vision,” he explained of the colorful intricate design of infinitely intertwined lines. “This is where my heart lies, and so this one’s really special to me.”

Mark Piotrowski works on the mural, slated for completion by the end of this week.

Piotrowski, of MARKedARTs, began painting on Monday and will have the mural finished by the end of the week.

He is using high-quality weather-resistant spray paint, which he said makes for fun and fast work.

“It’s definitely working out — I’m able to move a lot faster,” he said, as opposed to using brushes as he has in past mural projects.

So far, the weather has cooperated this week for him.

He noted that the paint is designed to resist fading from the sun. The mural, on the east side of Salon 125, will receive a lot of direct sunlight.

News Photos by Darby Hinkley Above, Mark Piotrowski of Bay City spray paints a mural on the side of Salon 125 at 125 E. Chisholm St. in Alpena. The mural is being painted this week as the second installment in Alpena Downtown Development Authority’s Fresh Waves public art initiative launched in 2019.

“It is just going to be bright as can be for a long time to come,” he said of the mural.

Check out a video below of Piotrowski working on his mural in downtown Alpena. Viewing on mobile? Turn your device horizontally for the best viewing experience. Story continues below video.

Piotrowski is a lifelong artist who has painted murals throughout the state. Currently a high-school teacher, he has taught for over 25 years for Bay City Public Schools at every grade level.

Piotrowski earned his bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Eastern Michigan University and his master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Here are his many cans of high-quality spray paint designed to withstand the weather.

“The mural I will be doing is a concept I call a Wave Journey,” he said. “These waves are connected bands of evolving color that travel and wrap around each other in an infinite loop. These loops symbolize the cycles we go through on a continual basis every day and every moment. From the act of taking a breath to progressing through the ebb and flow of our typical days, months, and years, these acts are cycles that guide us through our daily travels.”

He hopes people who drive and walk by will remember to find the joy in life’s journey as they view the mural.

“The Wave Journeys are a positive and joyous reminder that we are always progressing and shifting as we march forward in time,” he said. “I am extremely thankful for the invitation to Fresh Waves.”

He said he hasn’t been to Alpena in a long time, but he has had a very positive experience here. He said Anne Gentry of the DDA and Richard Gauthier from Salon 125 have been extremely helpful, among others he has met here.

“It’s been absolutely amazing working with Anne from Downtown Alpena, and Richard from Salon 125, to get this process completed,” Piotrowski said. “There’s been several people I’ve met along the way that really have been thoughtful and really wanted to bring something unique to this area. Alpena’s been so warm and welcoming. This is great.”

Above is a rendering of the completed mural on the side of Salon 125 in Alpena.

He added that the inspiration for the mural was based on a shaped aluminium painting that he just shipped out to a client in Brooklyn, New York.

Fresh Waves kicked off in 2019 with a mural painted on the side of Family Enterprise Embroidery, located at 211 S. Second Ave., by artists Aaron Golbeck and Chad Bolsinger. The purpose of Fresh Waves is to introduce new, vibrant one-of-a-kind artwork to the downtown district. The Alpena DDA invited both artists and downtown property owners to apply to be a part of this year’s project.

Another mural is scheduled to be painted later this summer on the side of the warehouse owned by Thunder Bay Theatre located at 131 E. Fletcher St. by artist Britt Flood of North Carolina. The painting has currently been postponed due to the recent fire next to the theater. Dates for the new mural will be announced soon.

For more information, visit www.downtownalpenami.com/fresh-waves-mural-project or watch the progress on Downtown Alpena’s social media.

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