Chris Garcia advertises himself online as Htownink, a private tattooer in Holland who specializes in custom pieces. His Instagram page makes it apparent that Garcia excels in art forms other than the needle: he is also a graffiti and mural artist. In fact, his art now fills the alley between Kean’s and Bad Brewing in Mason.
“He came and painted for a week,” said Teresa Wren, owner of Kean’s. “He stayed in one of our apartments and painted every day. We told him the colors, and what flowers we wanted, and he did the rest.”
According to Wren, the week in August couldn’t have been more perfect for Garcia to paint a flowerscape on Kean’s. It was warm, sunny, and members of the community were able to watch as the mural came together.
Garcia’s work came ahead of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) initiative funding public art in the tri-county area that encompasses the Lansing area. Art funded by LEAP is to be located in heavily trafficked public locations. It is also art communities will connect with. The initiative has since funded string lighting above Garcia’s mural, and several other public works in Mason by various artists.
“We were going to [have Garcia paint] anyways,” Wren said. “It was a bonus to get money back from LEAP.”
Wren was refunded $2,000 of Garcia’s fee by filling out the LEAP application. The official unveiling of all LEAP art projects in Mason was Oct. 16.