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Spokane artist Daniel Lopez spray-paints history in huge North Side mural

Artist Daniel Lopez used about 50 cans of spray paint to complete this mural of early Spokane life on the side of the Boulevard Building on North Monroe Street. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Artist Daniel Lopez used about 50 cans of spray paint to complete this mural of early Spokane life on the side of the Boulevard Building on North Monroe Street. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane artist Daniel Lopez is spray-painting history onto the wall of the Boulevard Building on the city’s North Side.

Building owner Diane Kelly commissioned Lopez to paint the mural on the north wall of the three-story landmark at the intersection of Monroe Street, Indiana Avenue and Northwest Boulevard.

Lopez uses spray paint to create his artwork, giving the mural a soft and slightly blurred look.

The mural depicts everyday scenes in Spokane dating back to 1912 when the building was completed.

A man in an early-day automobile is Diane Kelly’s late husband, Don Kelly, who died in 2013.

There are four girls playing jacks who represent Kelly’s four daughters, Darcy, Dena, Dorie and Dawn Marie.

Three boys playing an old game of sticks and hoops represent Kelly’s three sons, Dennis, Daren and David.

“It’s a bit of a homage,” Diane Kelly said.

She said she wanted to do something fun with the mural, and “this is exactly what I wanted.”

The mural replaces earlier artwork that had become outdated.

Lopez, who came to Spokane from Southern California three years ago, grew up as a graffiti artist.

He let that skill become the basis for his mural art.

“I kind of grew up,” he said about his transition from graffiti to more conventional art.

The commission on the Boulevard Building is one of the largest he has done, he said.

The use of spray paint creates what Lopez calls “perfectly incorrect” images because of the blurred lines.

As a result, perspective becomes a key to presenting his images, Lopez said.

Lopez and Kelly met numerous times to talk about the project and develop ideas for the finished product, including a starting sketch.

Lopez said he researched historical photos for creating some of the scenes.

One of the key parts of the mural is the Looff Carrousel.

The old Great Northern Railway depot and Clocktower are a second prominent image. The tower survives as part of Riverfront Park.

“There is a lot of history in this town,” and the mural is intended to be “like a history lesson,” Lopez said.

While he has been working on the mural, Lopez said he’s received a lot of encouraging comments from passers-by.

Previously, the north wall contained murals for the former Stewart’s Hardware, which had occupied the building’s retail space for years before closing in 2012.

Another mural sign was devoted to Kelly’s former travel business next door.

Today, the Boulevard Building is home to Boulevard Mercantile, which opened in 2015 and is owned by Dan Webb and Joellen Jeffers.

They have combined antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing, new artwork and other products into a modern take on an antique shop.

They carry a line of T-shirts from clothing-maker The Great PNW.

The Boulevard Building is near the southern end of a growing collection of small neighborhood businesses along Monroe, including other antique shops, a brewery, pubs, restaurants, a tailor, an appliance dealer an auto parts store and an Asian food store.

Lopez said he painted a base coat in mid-May before starting the mural.

“I’ve been working real hard,” he said. “To complete something that takes a lot of devotion.”


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