RVA muralist Jacob Eveland tells local stories with his 2016 RMP works

by | Jul 19, 2016 | STREET ART

For local artist Jacob Eveland, the murals he’s painted for the 2016 Richmond Mural Project transcend the beautiful black-and-white style he is known for. They go deeper, symbolizing the tight-knit community of Richmond and the artist’s touching impact on the city he fell in love with.

Eveland is the only local artist in this year’s RMP, and his most recent wall, painted at 521 N. Adams Street, is an artistic culmination of his year-and-a-half experience teaching at a Richmond-educational development center for troubled youth where he’s also created an art program.

Eveland easily identified with the kids, considering his rough upbringing near East St. Louis, MO.

“My dad did a lot of smuggling through that area, and I wanted to get away from all that,” said Eveland, who fell in love with Richmond after visiting an uncle and chose to move here as soon as he was 18. “I always loved the river, and loved the architecture of the city, and just everything it had to offer. It’s like a small but big city at the same time.”

The black-and-white mural, an intricately patterned trumpet with five birds resting atop of it (top image), seeks to memorialize Eveland’s experience at the Alternative School and the past of Jackson Ward. The inspiration for the trumpet comes from the one his co-worker played, and the birds symbolize the children he helped during his time there.

“[The birds] kind of represent those kids that I worked with,” Eveland said. “I’ll never forget them, ‘cause their backgrounds helped bring up things that I had forgotten to realize, like wow, I have it really good now.”

Eveland painted another mural, located at 8 N. Plum Street, embodying a couple’s love that blossomed in Richmond. Had it not been for the man’s dog, they might have never met, so Eveland decided to tell their story through a mural of the matchmaking pet. In this case, it was in the form of a surprise birthday present for the man’s wife, painted on the side of their house.

“She told me everything about this dog, and they wanted a piece to symbolize all of this,” Eveland said. “Each little spot on the mural has a different story that’s tied to them, but I also wanted to make something that could still work aesthetically for the community. I just wanted something, cause there’s a lot of people that walk dogs everywhere, and [the couple] had a nice river story so I ran that through the middle.”

Eveland’s upcoming third mural will be located at 414 N. 2nd Street. The owners of the building wanted something that would help to reflect the history of Jackson Ward.

Because of Richmond’s rich musical history, Eveland decided to incorporate jazz and classical music themes into this project. Eveland drew inspiration from his grandfather, who collected phonographs, and from the James River, with the mural incorporating a herring as well as various musical instruments.

The murals are definitely worth checking out in person, but if you’re trying to beat the heat, you can check them out on Eveland’s Instagram, as well as see other work on his website.

There are still plenty of great murals to check out from world-renowned artists in the coming days, so keep an eye on the Richmond Mural Project’s website.

James Miessler

James Miessler

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