Meet the Mural Artist: Patrick Kirwin
You may have noticed a new mural gradually taking shape in the neighborhood, becoming more and more colorful and elaborate, alongside the long wall of the VéloCity bicycle co-op on the corner of Custis and Mt. Vernon Avenues.
The local artist who proposed the idea of painting an outdoor market scene and has been doing the painting is Patrick Kirwin. He specializes in Trompe L’oeil. Patrick currently teaches at the Alexandria Art League and has taught at The Corcoran College and the Smithsonian Institution. He has completed large commercial projects, as well as the interiors of many small shops, private wine cellars, and residential murals.
Initially, Patrick worked with children from the Community Kids Club, a group of nine 4th and 5th graders from Mount Vernon Community School, to paint the flower pots along the bottom of the length of the mural.
As the mural acquires more and more detail, Patrick fills the flower pots. He is also beginning to paint people and dogs into the mural to add depth and character.
In his work, Patrick uses reference books like these gardening books to help him design a variety of plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
You may see Patrick on any given afternoon adding to the mural. The day I stopped by, quite a few passersby stopped to chat with him while he worked, which he didn’t seem to mind one bit. He was quite capable of talking amiably while painting intricate details.
At the time, Patrick was working on the face of a little girl, who happens to be my eight-year-old daughter, Nadja. Patrick also painted my older daughter into the mural, as well as his own two children, and the child of one of the staff members of the nearby nail salon, and other neighborhood children, as well as dogs. He can tell you the name of every child and dog pictured in the mural.
Patrick says the mural exemplifies the character of Del Ray, a celebration of healthy living, children and dogs. He does beautiful work too. This is a mural you’ll want to spend time examining for all of the gorgeous detail.