The eye-catching, abstract work was very much a collaboration, from day one, and it was so much fun to work with an artist as open and humble as Lynda. The Florida native has been living and working in the revitalized downtown of Harrisonburg, Virginia, for the past seven years. She’s personally invested in the growth of her community, and those surrounding it, so the partnership was a natural fit. Stop by the store if you’re in the area, and don’t forget to tag Lynda and Steven Alan if you share the picture on social media–we’d love to hear what you think!
Lynda painting our DC store (1924 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20001)
You've just finished a beautiful, bright abstract mural on the Steven Alan D.C. store. Was it your first time doing a large-scale work like this?
This was my first time painting anything inverted, but I have a couple murals under my belt.
Did you have to adjust your regular materials for this type of project?
I like to use hardware store materials in my studio work, especially latex paint and wood. Latex is so versatile and accessible. You can thin it down to a stain, or build it up and create heavy textures—play with the lines between sturdiness and fragility. For this project specifically, I wanted to make sure the colors stayed true—so I asked for the concrete to be sealed and primed, and then chose paint with added UV/mold/mildew protection. This winter has been a temperature seesaw; so choosing low-temp application paint was also key (it still froze a bit).
What was the inspiration behind the mural?
It was really a collaborative process with the Steven Alan team. Quickly into our conversation, it was clear that my aesthetic suited the general vibe they were going for… total synchronicity. I sketched up a design that included some elements from another mural I painted, which is this anti-gravity landscape. I wanted it to feel suspended in movement, weightless and botanical, soft and strong. I choose colors by feel—I know, that’s such a lame answer. I judge a color combination by how much I feel like eating it.
Are you happy with how it turned out?
I'm very happy with it, but I could keep noodling around with a painting this large for months. Measuring progress takes many moments of stepping back. I had to be realistic and adapt with some of the practical limitations—like the ceiling having a wonky texture that was not conducive to the kind of details I wanted to include.
What was the most challenging aspect? The most fun?
Figuring out a work schedule amidst the weather fluctuations was tricky. The first two days were beautiful, but the temperature dropped from 65 degrees and sunny to low 30’s with snow/rain and 40mph wind gusts.
Chatting with passersby in the neighborhood is always the best part of painting an outdoor mural—there were some hilarious interactions.
Why did you want to work with Steven Alan?
It’s nice to work with others who are so… intuitively professional. The impression I got from day one was confident and gracious—it continued throughout every channel of communication during the project. Working with others who appreciate the same funky/classic/clean aesthetic that I love is like breathing pure oxygen.
What else is on your art project bucket list?
I would love to work with other muralists and learn how to paint a multi-story building.
Name one challenge you never imagined having to face as an artist.
When I was 24, I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis, which seriously limited the way I’m able to use my hands. It felt like some kind of cruel cosmic joke. It’s been nearly a decade, and I’m just starting to learn how to lessen the symptoms through diet and lifestyle changes. Still, some days are non-negotiable and I just have to power through. I’ve had to adjust how I create, and I'm still finding ways to weave it into my process rather than fight against it. This challenge has brought so much personal growth, and solidified that I will always find a way to keep creating.
Who are some of your art-world heroes?
Margaret Kilgallen changed the way I saw myself as an artist. I found her interview on ART21 when I was a bewildered sophomore in art school. When I heard her speak, it was the first time I heard an artist saying the things that I felt in my heart, and seeing those ideas validated in the art world gave me confidence to make what I wanted to see. Her work is so straightforward and celebratory—she celebrated hand-made signs, train-writers, surfers, plants, simple pleasures, and obscure independent women of history.
Do you have any other hobbies that inform your art or feel as rewarding?
Any kind of expression through my body—yoga, swimming, zooming around on my bike, and dancing.
What are you working on now/next?
I’m just finishing my 2nd year of an MFA program at James Madison University. I’m working on a large collection of work exploring ideas on mind/body/earth/astral connectivity—through paintings, drawings, and stop-motion animation. I’d like to travel with it and connect with others who speak my language and want to collaborate.
Photos by: Katie Schmid