OSWEGO — The city of Oswego has a new mural to coincide with its recent additions near the Schilling Building at 168 W. 1st St., featuring work by artist Marcus Osmun of Fulton.
Oswego is a very important place to Osmun, having spent a lot of time in the Port City growing up. He said he is excited to be able to give his art and talent to the community, in an opportunity for which he has been waiting years.
The initial subject matter came from Mayor Billy Barlow and (building owner) Warren Shaw, Osmun told The Palladium-Times this week.
The overarching theme of his wall-spanning, 1,500-square foot mural is the building’s history and its connection to the Oswego music culture and community. Officials said a music store, a ballroom and a piano dealership are some of the businesses that have occupied the space in its more than 100-year history.
“We were expecting to be done right about now, but we certainly didn't anticipate the first half of September being cold and rainy the way it was.” Osmun said. “I knew we would be racing the weather this time of year, which is unfortunate.”
Barlow said the idea originally came from suggestions on social media and the mural is intended to complement the new design of Water Street Square and its pocket park while also adding to the atmosphere of the park.
In the pre-COVID times, the mayor remembered fondly, the city hosted concerts at the park, waived the open container ordinance downtown and allowed people to “enjoy the park, street and Riverwalk in a fun, laid back setting.”
“Once we get through COVID, we will have music and other entertainment options available for the public at this new outdoor venue,” Barlow said.
City officials said the mural is designed to bring together the community and add to the relaxing and fun environment of Water Street Square.
“I wanted the mural to help set the mood and add to the music and fun atmosphere,” Barlow said. “I thought it would complement the design and use of the pocket park.”
Once the mural is finished, Barlow plans to have a virtual unveiling of the artwork. In the future he plans for a more exciting and public unveiling once pandemic restrictions are lifted. Barlow also thanked Shaw for his participation.
“I’d like to thank Warren Shaw for allowing the city to paint this mural on his building,” Barlow said. “He couldn’t have been more open and helpful and I appreciate his partnership.”
Norman Roth and Jordan Demm are assisting Osmun on the project, and the artist says he expects to be finished in the near future — especially with the weather quickly turning colder.
“We need at least seven days of nice weather to finish it, they don't need to be consistent,” Osmun said. In the event of unforseen delays, the mural will be completed when the weather turns back next year.
Osmun started working under Roth at age 13 and stayed until he was 18. While still a teenager, he found his passion for drawing and painting, and was able receive professional training at a young age. Following up this apprenticeship, Osmun left for New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts. After a few semesters, he took a position with the Walt Disney Company then finished his degree at the Sheridan College of Animation & Film in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
“I've always been more of a traditionalist, so I tended to go my own way with illustration.” Osmun said.
For more information about Ozmun, his work, or information about his shop; Acala Tattoo, in Cicero, he can be reached at his website www.marcusosmun.com.