Tim Nijenhuis is back in Alpena painting another mural for the downtown area.
It’s the second time he’s been chosen and has a lot of experience from around the world. “I’ve done murals all over the place,” he said. “I just did two murals in Saskatchewan and two in Colorado, and then I traveled over here. Earlier this year I was in Germany and I was in Portugal.”
There are now quite a few murals in downtown Alpena thanks to the downtown development authority’s Fresh Waves Initiative Project. However not all of them are designed around the history of Alpena.
Last year Nijenhuis painted the Alpena Flyer, an automobile formerly produced in the city. This time he wants to pay tribute to Jesse Besser, a notable figure in the area’s history. “I investigated what he meant to the town and the fact that he invented this machine that makes cinder blocks,” he said. “That really got my inspiration going. That’s why this mural is about blocks and shapes and it features him as well with one of his inventions.”
Nijenhuis began painting last Tuesday and still has a bit to go. The whole process doesn’t just involve painting. “First of all, it’s not just art. You have to be a bit of a contractor as well,” he said. “So repairs to the building, repairs to the wall, making sure there’s no holes or cracks, and if they are there you have to fix them first and then prime the whole building and then sketching it out.”
He’s hoping this latest mural will be well received by the people of Alpena as it uses different techniques to make it happen. “I’m really proud of designing it and I’m really enjoying doing it because in my mind it has the perfect combination of realism and abstract,” said Nijenhuis. “So, that way you reach a really broad audience as well with different artistic sensibilities.”
Nijenhuis plans to have the mural done by the end of the week.