Columbus native and artist Frances Berry, left, paints a 200-foot black and white mural with the help of sister-in-law Caitlin Berry. The mural, which was a collaboration with an artist known as "Captain," was designed on site and adorns a brick wall behind the JTB Furniture warehouse on Waterworks Road. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
June 7, 2018 11:07:58 AM
Along nearly 200 feet of brick backdrop on Waterworks Road in Columbus sits a hidden gem -- a whimsically designed black and white mural adding "a touch of something fun" to a warehouse-spotted property.
Columbus native and artist Frances Berry and her collaborative partner, a Los Angeles artist known professionally as "Captain," painted the mural while visiting town for a few days in early May. Berry, who creates art through a variety of different mediums, said she never plans anything. This mural was no exception.
"If you see the whole thing, there are three fingers to the far right," Berry said. "I painted those three fingers, and then we just went from there.
"There are people who work smart, and there's people who work hard," she added, "and I would definitely say I'm the type that works hard."
Berry and Captain, with the help of Berry's sister-in-law, Caitlin Berry, completed the project in two days. The property on which they painted belongs to Berry's father, owner of local manufacturing company Johnston Tombigbee Furniture.
Frances described the mural as a family affair.
"That lot has been sitting there for a while now," she said. "My dad is probably my number one fan, and I think he just really wanted an excuse to have some of my work."
Her father, Reau Berry, said he had considered adding art to the property for years. After a recent refurbishing of the company warehouse, it seemed like the perfect time.
"It really enhances the entire property," Reau said. "Frances is a world-acclaimed artist, and to have a daughter with such talents and not utilize it in a very positive way, I think, would be very negative."
Reau hopes the mural not only enhances his property but adds a positive and creative tone to the Columbus community -- a sentiment echoed by Caitlin.
"I think it did exactly what he wanted it to," Caitlin said. "It brought some life and energy to a site that doesn't have much going on. ... We hope it gives some other artists opportunities to do murals around town. We're kind of behind on that type of stuff."
As for Frances, creating art -- from painting to sketching -- is her specialty.
She has generated art professionally for almost 10 years, traveling across the country to share her passion. Since January, Frances and Captain have collaborated as much as possible. The mural, Frances' second, represents something "new and different" in her work.
"I love seeing the changes in her art," Caitlin said. "This crisp, clean, black and white contemporary work she's been doing lately is really neat, and I've loved following that evolution."
Frances' inspiration, though, holds true.
"If art's going to be in the public eye, it might as well be something positive and fun to look at," she said.
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