As an artist, UW-Eau Claire alumna and Blugold Central staff member Dez Lezotte has a personal philosophy: put her work out into the world, let her artistic intentions be known and trust that the right work will find her.
That approach recently paid off in a big way when the color artist and painter became the first local artist commissioned to design and paint a large-scale mural in Eau Claire, a piece for a brewery in the growing downtown business area of Eau Claire known as the Cannery District.
"I was working on a 20-piece collection of paintings and sharing the work on Instagram," Lezotte said. "Will Glass, the owner of the Brewing Projekt, follows my account because I used to be a bartender for them, and he asked if I'd be interested in doing a mural for the brewery — he just texted me out of the blue."
She was, of course, very interested and the project took shape from there. Beyond the hope that Lezotte would use similar pops of vibrant color and geometric designs he'd seen in the Instagram collection, Glass left the concept for the mural design and execution entirely up to her. The design came together fairly quickly, centered around a giant hop, and the painting work was completed with the help of friend and fellow artist Brittlyn Neumann.
Other large-scale murals have been created in downtown Eau Claire, both on N. Farwell Street, although neither of those were designed by local artists. One is the work of a Chicago-based artist named Molly Z, and the other is based on artwork featured on albums and social media for the band Bon Iver.
Although Lezotte had taken part in community art projects and shows in the past, she was pleasantly surprised by the high degree of community engagement she received while outdoors painting the mural.
"So many people stopped by each day, just really interested in what we were doing, enjoying seeing all the color," she said. "That's an aspect I hadn't really thought about, working in my own little bubble — that especially in Wisconsin where winter can be so long, people so appreciate added color and vibrancy in the landscape."
Lezotte, a 2012 history and economics graduate, has been working as an information systems business specialist in Blugold Central, but it seems that her intention of letting the art work find her is working out as planned. Friday, July 19, will be her last day working on campus, as the number of new commissions coming her way is enough that she feels able to pursue her dream of working full time as an artist.
We wish her the best and look forward to seeing her work bringing more joy and colorful expression to other area communities.