At four years old, Skye Walker did something that would change the course of his life. He picked up a crayon and began coloring. He’s been coloring and creating ever since.
In June 2018, Skye hit the road in his Sprinter Van — appropriately and cleverly named “Vango” — for a yearlong “Sea2Sea Mural Tour.” Ten months, 17,000 miles and 23 murals later, Skye Walker found himself in the Heber Valley.
Skye wasn’t lost. Quite the contrary: the stars had aligned to get him here. One month before he left on his tour, a young woman watched him paint a large mural for a law firm in Encinitas, Calif. She loved it and told a friend, who told a friend, who just happened to be Perry Dickson, one of the owners at Slim & Knobby’s Bike Shop.
Perry contacted Skye about painting a mural for their new store, but the timing wasn’t right. Fortunately fate intervened — while reviewing his schedule in Albuquerque, N.M., Skye discovered he had a few extra days. He called Perry, they talked, Skye jumped on a plane, and in the course of five days Skye created an amazing mural for the new Slim & Knobby’s featuring a sky full of stars that guide the eye toward the splendor and nature of the Heber Valley.
Sandwiched between shooting stars and the rolling waves of lakes, rivers and streams, a beautiful scene of colors, textures and geometric shapes unfolds. A golden sun rises behind Mount Timpanogos while a majestic moose stands guard over Mother Nature’s creations. A lone bear treks through giant evergreens on his way to a honeycombed mountain, carefully watched by a rainbow trout clearly out of the water yet still perfectly in her element. Topography lines wind throughout, giving a sense of place while not indicating anywhere specific.
Skye Walker’s 24th mural is beautifully unique and inspiring.
A Large-Scale Perspective
Skye is inspired by nature and enjoys creating realistic pieces of art, but his true love lies in presenting what is real in an unusual, diverse and fun manner.
“When you get to push a little bit and have some fun with color and placements, taking things out of the ordinary and giving them a fun spin, it really gives the brain something to think about,” he explains. “It makes it more fun, I believe, for the people that are experiencing the mural.”
Sky continues, “I know that whenever I’ve stopped and seen a mural that really took my breath away it made me think. I’ve been like, wow that was incredible. Not to say that that can’t happen with small-scale art, which it does, but I mean — when you’re standing in front of a hundred-foot wall — it’s definitely going to grab your attention and make you think”.
And Skye’s artwork does make one think. His art gives the viewer a sense of connectedness between Mother Earth and her inhabitants. It fills one with the sense of responsibility to look out for each other and take care of one another. That desire to connect was one of the reasons Skye decided to go on a mural tour.
“I wanted to put myself in a position to be on the road full-time and be in areas to, not only paint a mural, but to experience the local area as best as possible, whether that’s the nature or the urban part,” he explains. “I wanted to interact with people I wouldn’t normally meet and make new friends, and I did. It’s been amazing, very inspiring, and an incredible journey.”
“I believe that public art is imperative to our society. It inspires people and uplifts communities, whether people know it or not.”
A Different Kind of Painting
Educating others about art comes naturally to Skye when he talks to people viewing his work. As he primarily uses spray paint when creating large murals, he often hears, “Oh you’re using spray paint — isn’t that graffiti?” Sky believes teaching others that “graffiti” is a legitimate art style is an important part of those discussions. Sadly, this style has long been associated with tagging and vandalism — and vandalism is not art.
As more people learn the difference, they come to understand and appreciate the unique style of street art. Some of the most sought after street artists like Shepard Fairey and Banksy are helping change public opinion of graffiti art, and now people not only respect the art but also want it in their towns and homes.
To some, our picturesque Heber Valley may seem an unexpected place for a large street art mural, but its the perfect style in which to capture our distinctive place on this planet. When you stand in front of Skye Walker’s amazing mural, it will not only make you think; this artwork will take your brain on a journey of possibilities, provide another perspective and make you glad that Perry Dickson and the stars aligned to send Skye Walker in our direction.
Mostly, though, it’ll make you grateful that Skye picked up that crayon and never stopped coloring.