Elko Mural Expo – September 26 – 29

36 artists will be painting  |  55 murals in downtown Elko
Click here for the Mural Expo Schedule.

Are you ready to see downtown Elko go through a transformation? We are too! Come check out more than 30 local businesses and public spaces be changed in just 4 days with live mural paintings from artists brought here from around the world. A big shout out to Eric Brooks and Geralda Miller with Art Spot Reno, who contacted the Elko Arts and Cultural Advisory Board and came together to bring us this amazing art festival and mural exposition.

From Thursday Sept. 26th through Sunday Sept. 29th we will be having daily events from 8am-8pm all across our beloved downtown. 12 local, 25 regional, and 2 international artists will be beautifying our walls and sidewalks with colorful, interesting displays of art in a variety of styles, heritage, and talent. This festival was over a year in the making, so make sure you come down and see  all the hard work our artists have put in.

While you are checking out the amazing muralists, also make sure to get into some of our festivals’ other attractions like:  film screenings, workshops, art lectures, urban art exhibits, live music, mural tours, and a special wine walk being put on by the Elko Mural Expo’s biggest sponsor, The Elko Downtown Business Association. Saturday Sept. 28th the wine walk will start at The Commercial Casino with tickets for $25. But, if you’re looking for an exclusive experience, the Elko DBA is going to have a V.I.P. lounge set up at Hunter Ray’s and for only $75 a ticket  you can enjoy live music, a photo booth, a special commemorative wine glass, a pro photographer on site, select vendors, food, and of course great wine! Tickets can be purchased at the Commercial Casino for our traditional wine walk or at Hunter Ray’s for our V.I.P. experience. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled while on the wine walk for our celebrated artists joining the festivities and we will see you at the Elko Mural Expo!

Meet the Artist

Erik Burke, Reno NV

Erik Burke creates place-specific murals throughout the world. His pairing of photographic representation with impressionistic painting is complemented by a strong sense of design. In his work, one can see how painting reflects a deep interest in storytelling and the narrative power of images to reactivate a variety of spaces. His works include: creating a 40-acre ground drawing in the USA, making a body of work while bicycling 2000 miles across Europe, leading art workshops with communities in need around the globe, and painting more than 200 murals. His latest works can be seen in Spain, Bosnia Herzegovina, South Korea, Italy, and closer to home in Reno. 

You’ve been painting murals around world, what’s been the most exciting place you’ve painted?
Elko 😉  … It’s really hard to say because the most interesting thing about painting murals is the variation in place. Everywhere brings something different to the table and sometimes the most foreign place has something familiar while a job here at home might open my eyes to something I never noticed.

You’ve already painted a mural on the side of Ogi’s Deli. How was that experience?
Painting Ogi’s was amazing! Since it depicts Basque culture, a lot of the Basque community came out. We involved them in the mural by having them recreate their signature or moniker on a grove of Aspen trees that I painted. Everything naturally came into place and I was so happy to use art to bring people together.

Your next mural is on the back of Stockmen’s Casino. What’s your inspiration for this piece?
The American west, the open road, and the idea of home.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Elko Mural Expo?
I’m SO happy! Since I’m from a long line of Nevadans, I’m grateful to share what I love to do in a place that is a part of my DNA.

How did you get into painting murals?
It began through graffiti. I was never fully interested in lettering like most graffiti writers. Instead, I preferred painting people, characters, or abstract scenes. After numerous run-ins with the law, huge restitutions, community service, and jail time, I worked my ass off painting walls for friends, or anyone interested. I kept building my skill set and portfolio until 15 years went by and it became my full-time job.

Russell “buZ blurr” Butler is our Master of Ceremonies. This 80-something year-old career railroad man, and pipe-smoking cowboy, has adorned tens of thousands of railcars across North America. Tell us about buZ and your experience with him, filming the documentary. Why is it so important to have him as part of this Expo?

As much as I knew buZ from seeing his work so frequently all over the trains, I really got to know him through making the film. It really was a hail mary project. I had no idea what would happen but started documenting the process, showing this search for him, and it culminated in so much more. It’s been 13 years since then and of course I’d do it all different now.  I’m humbled to have buZ involved, since his lifetime of work fits so well in Elko’s connection to the railroad, Cowboy Poetry, and the idea of myth. 

Meet the Artist

Stephane Cellier, Virginia City

Stephane Cellier has created murals across California and Nevada. “ENIGMATICLASSIC” What other term could better describe the unique style of Stephane Cellier’s last works? This Classically trained French painter has pushed a very complex technique from the XVIth century, called “Multiple Transparent Glazing”, to its climax, going as far as superimposing up to 50 layers of different transparent colors, in order to create a unique “shine through”
stained glass effect!

Why did you come to the U.S.?
I came to the United States, because, with my wife, we love that country, its culture and its people since ever. During the years, we came every year on vacation to the USA, for one month and visited a lot of places. And one day, we decided to contact an immigration attorney and do the paperwork to move to the US.

What’s your educational background?
I have a Master Degree from the French National Fine Art school (Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts), where I studied all the classical techniques from the French Master painters (Impressionism, pointillism, multiple transparent colored glazings, grisaille…etc)

You worked as the caretaker at St. Mary’s Art and Retreat Center in Virginia City. How was that experience and what did you do?
It was a great experience. I really enjoyed these years because it allowed me to meet a lot of artists, local and international. My job was a regular caretaker job. I had to do some maintenance, setting the artist reception with the director, etc. In addition St Mary Art Center is an incredibly beautiful historical building which made my work even more enjoyable.

You’re painting a huge mural at Vogue Cleaners. What’s your inspiration?
My inspiration for that building has been firstly guided by the theme the building owner wished to have on that wall. He wanted something really realistic about the pioneers, trains… So I had to work on that concept. But the challenge on that mural is the size of the wall — 145 feet long by only 14 feet tall — and the time frame to paint it. I didn’t want to create just another “boring” historical mural about the pioneers, I tried to bring some more “life” into it. That’s why I imagined a kid traveling in a train and watching through the window, who was daydreaming about the cowboys and pioneers traveling in the same scenery, years and years ago.

How did you get into painting murals?
I always painted murals. I  painted my first “real” mural when i was 16. But I really jumped into it when I discovered that murals are the best way to give an opportunity to bring art to people who usually are not comfortable in an art gallery. I think art shouldn’t be reserved to an “elite” who can afford it. Every human being, since the cavemen, have painted on walls…so I am keeping that tradition.

What does it mean to you to be part of the Elko Mural Expo?
It means a lot to me, for several reasons : First of all, I’m glad to have the opportunity to paint in a small city, lost in the Nevada desert, and which represents the “real” far west for a French guy like me. It’s an honor for me, as a French artist, to have the opportunity to show my art in Elko and, by this way, maybe become a little bit a  part of that community. In addition, being part of the Mural Expo event makes me feel integrated and recognized as a member of the great family of muralists which has no frontiers or nationality.


Click here for the Mural Expo Schedule.