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A Colorful Dream Job

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FINISHED PRODUCT:Mitchell Schuring, front, poses for a photo with members of the Frankfort Future Leaders Advisory Council and building owner Dr. Jill Snyder after the mural was completed.
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WORK OF HEARTS: Lafayette artistMitchell Schuring uses a ladder over the weekend to reach the higher reaches of his mural that now graces the 51 West Event Center in Frankfort.
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IDEA COMPLETE: The Frankfort Future Leaders Advisory Council brought the idea for a wall mural to the Historic Preservation Commission and then to 51 West owner, Dr. Jill Snyder, withMitchell Schuring seeing that vision to completion with his paint.
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GOING LEGIT: Lafayette'sMitchell Schuring gave the Tippecanoe Arts Council credit for pulling him out of the "graffiti/tagging lifestyle I used to live ... they have played a huge roll in seeing that I go legit."

By JERRY LEONARD - news@ftimes.com

In most cases, spray painting on walls is illegal and frowned upon. However for Mitchell Schuring, it is not only a form of art but also a job.

And his next art piece is at Dr. Jill Snyder’s 51 West Event Center, located at 51 W. Clinton St. The project, sponsored by the Frankfort Future Leaders Advisory Council, was expected to take a couple of days to complete, weather permitting, as Schuring worked on it this past weekend.

Schuring, who is also known as Metabyte on Instagram, considers himself “a graphic artist turned street artist.

“I still do a lot of graphic design work at my nine-to-five job," he added. "I also have a background in print making and painting, so I think I’m more of a multimedia artist. The medium is always changing and I’m always trying new things.”

Originally from northern Illinois, Schuring moved to Lafayette in 2004. He went to Harrison High School and also attended Purdue University.

“I don’t know that I can call myself self-taught," he said. "I took a huge interest in art while I was in high school and that carried over to Purdue. But a lot of what I know I taught myself with the help of YouTube videos and trial and error. Everything I do with spray paint has definitely been self-taught.

“I’ve been painting on walls for as long as I remember," Schuring continued. "In 2014 my girlfriend was working for a nonprofit organization and during Disability Awareness Month we came up with an idea to paint a mural. So, I designed the 'Dream Mural' with her direction, and we approached a building owner in Bedford, Indiana. My girlfriend paid for it out-of-pocket and I had always wanted to paint something in a public space.”

Doing that mural caught the attention of Lafayette artist Zach Medler (@zmedstudios), who invited Mitchell to “be a part of Small Places and two years later he called me up again for Allypalooza. Those two projects got me noticed by San Francisco street artist Cameron Moberg, also known as Camer1, on one of his visits to Lafayette and he invited me to be part of Wabash Walls and so it has kind of snowballed.”

The 29-year-old Schuring said of painting that “when working on canvas I use acrylic mostly, love oils but they are expensive and I don’t like the clean up. When I do indoor and outdoor murals my go-to spray paint is Ironlak, Ironlak Yard Masters, Ironlak Sugar Paint or MTN94. Those are all acrylic-based spray paints."

The amount of time for each mural can be “anywhere from 8-40 hours, depending on the size of the piece and the amount of detail in the design. For example, the piece I did for Wabash Walls took me about three days from dusk until dawn.” His most recent addition to Bedford, a Chicken painting, only took him about eight hours.

“For me, the most challenging part is probably the business side of things and trying to find people interested in hiring me for this type of work," Schuring said.

He mainly credits Zack Medler, of zmedstudios and one of his closest artist friends, for being his mentor and guiding him to where he is now.

“Zach was on my radar long before I was on his," he noted. "I rented a studio in the same building so I could get close to him and we’ve been pals ever since. He’s been kind enough to include me in multiple mural projects that he’s curated with the city of Lafayette.

"The TAF (Tippecanoe Arts Federation) has been really good to me over the years as well. They have supported my dream through these various projects over the years and I can’t say that they are directly responsible for pulling me out of the graffiti/tagging lifestyle I used to live, but they have played a huge roll in seeing that I go legit. This Frankfort gig is actually the first one where someone from TAF has contacted me directly because they had me in mind for a job.”