Vibrant wildlife murals to landmark Eagle
An Eagle beautification project that was put on hold in 2020 has jumpstarted yet again. Near the East corner of the intersection of Eby Creek Rd. and Chambers Ave., local artist Amy Dose’s three murals will likely be on display later this year.
The paintings will line the Alpine Lumber property in frames built specially to hold the wood panels that the murals are painted on. When mural project plans originally debuted, Alpine Lumber had partnered with the town to complete the project. Since, the company has backed out of the mural project. Despite this, the murals will still be erected before the same stretch of road and welcome locals and visitors to Eagle with a splash of color.
“The artwork [will] include elements that showcase the town’s identity and why Eagle is a special place,” a 2019 artist call describing the project’s initiatives read. “The artworks are envisioned to instill pride and happiness in community members of all ages.”
The muralist chosen, Dose, lived in Eagle for about 15 years and had raised her now 22-year-old daughter in the town.
“I love that town, I’m connected to the community there,” Dose said. “So, it feels really exciting to be able to do something like this.”
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The murals will be the first public art installation in the town of Eagle. Dose, despite completing other mural projects valley-wide, said the Eby Creek mural project is also a first for her.
The murals will be her first very big, very public project. Previously, Dose installed a colorful mural to the Vail Health east wing connector hallway. She also helped brighten up many other interiors in her mural, decorative finishes, repair and faux painting business, Flying Shoe Arts.
However, with an audience as extensive as cars and pedestrians traveling on Eby Creek Rd., Dose said she was unexpectedly glad to have a hiatus in the project’s momentum. Like many other projects that were scheduled for completion in 2020, the Eagle mural project started slipping through the cracks in the face of the pandemic.
“It’s actually been kind of a good thing because I’ve changed, solidified the designs,” Dose said. “It’s just more intentional than it was going to be. It’s the same subject matter and the same kind of idea, but I think the fact that it ended up taking a little bit longer was good, so I was able to get a little bit of distance from (the murals). Then, I think I created a stronger design that’s going to really show up well from the street.”
Dose spent the extra time allotted to the project refining the design, but in her time leading up to this, her career as an artist helped her refine her skills to get to the level that she’s at today.
Getting her start in theatre set design, Dose said she was already accustomed to blowing images up and creating large-scale art. Then, with Flying Shoe Arts, she honed that skill even further, learning to bring clients’ imagined interiors to life. The public mural plunge seemed to be waiting for Dose just around the bend.
“I always knew that I could do something like this,” Dose said. “I think as a mother and a small business owner, my priority was always those two things first, though.”
Without parameters, Dose said her art mainly centers on nature and wildlife. With a studio positioned perfectly for viewing wildlife, Dose said it’s easy to find inspiration from majestic mountain animals such as deer and elk.
Dose’s studio is dotted with paintings of the creatures.
“My daughter is 22, and her friends came up (to the studio), and they’re like, ‘Wow. Your mom really likes deer.’”
The three murals Dose is creating for the Eby Creek project are all aligned with her usual subjects. One mural depicts fish, another will picture deer and the final will be of an elk. The animals are not only all found within Eagle, but they also represent the strong value Eagle community members place in wildlife, the outdoors and recreation.
With projects as public as Dose’s murals will be, there will always be people who don’t like the turnout, she said. She even described an instance when she heard negative feedback about her Vail Health mural.
“The other day, my husband had surgery—it wasn’t for anything serious, it was not a big deal at all—but he was walking with a nurse, they were walking him down the hall that I had painted and so he said to the woman, ‘So, do you like the hallway?’”
When her husband told her the woman said no, Dose said she thought it was hilarious.
“He said, just sort of laughing, ‘Oh yeah, my wife painted that,”’ Dose said. “And she said ‘Oh—’ and he goes, ‘Don’t worry, don’t back-peddle. We’re all entitled to our opinion.”
While an artist may want everyone to like their work, Dose said the reality doesn’t always turn out that way.
While making sure the audience of the artwork is overall satisfied with the piece is important, Dose explained that to her, having the opportunity to do what she loves and pour that love back into the community is what makes her work worthwhile.
“That’s what draws you to it, you want to be connected,” Dose said. “But, I think all the other judgments and the voices and all that distracts. You have to kind of try to just let that all wash away and be inside yourself.”
Painting is typically a solitary activity, but for Dose, it’s how she connects with the world around her, but it’s also how she is able to feel most herself, most comfortable and most content.
“There’s so much emotion tied up in (painting),” Dose said.
Wanting to explore all the emotions painting can bring her, Dose said she’s often one to experiment with her own expression, never wholly adhering to a specific style. In designing the murals that she’s currently completing for the project, Dose said determining the style of the paintings involved combining her own style with elements she knew the town of Eagle was looking for.
“Real creativity doesn’t happen when you’re trying too hard to make people happy,” Dose said. “You can’t force it, or else you lose all the magic of it.”
In bright colors with geometric elements, the murals are intended to be eye-catching for even the quickest of impressions from drivers going through the intersection’s roundabout.
Each mural takes about a week and a half to paint, Dose said, and the first of the three is already complete.
“I know they’re planning to get them installed this year,” Dose said.
Alongside the mural installation, the town is also planning on “dressing up” the roadside area in front of the artwork. Dose said a landscaping company coordinated with her to determine best placement of foliage for viewing the murals.
“I think in the long run, they want to put in a little seating area and just kind of make it look more welcoming,” Dose said.
And welcoming was exactly the town of Eagle was going for when the project was first underway in 2019. The artist call for the mural project described the display as a “welcoming gateway” for those entering Eagle.
“The artwork should make community members of all ages feel proud and happy,” the artist call read. “Residents should say: ‘I’m home,’ when they see the artwork and feel like Eagle is where they belong. Visitors who see the artwork should say: ‘I’m excited to be here,’ and ‘I look forward to coming back.’”
Nearing completion of painting the murals, Dose said she’s glad to be involved in the launch of Eagle’s first public art installation and an effort to make people feel more welcome and happier in Eagle.