By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Dr. Bob Palmer, a well known Oklahoma artist, was recently commissioned by Bedford Camera and Video to produce murals for their building façade. Eight panels have been installed at the store location 3110 N. May in the Northwest Shopping Center, in Oklahoma City.
The murals mainly consist of images of Oklahoma history and reflect Bedford’s connection to the community.
Iconic images of the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, Devon Tower, Survivor Tree, and the SkyDance Bridge are included in the artwork. Three other panels will be added for contests, photos of the month, and advertising.
Palmer is a member of the National Arts Educators Association and a recipient of one the 2012 Governor’s Arts Award. He has been awarded the Edmond Historical Society Preservation Award and was voted the Oklahoma Art Educator of the Year in 2007.
Palmer has also been recognized as Outstanding Educator for Higher Education and has received the Arts Assembly award for his work at the State Capitol building.
“We were in the planning stages for a couple of months and then the actual painting probably took another month,” Palmer said. “I had an assistant working with me named Shikoh Shiraiwa, who is from Japan.”
The eight murals were created at Bob Palmer Studios in Piedmont, OK.
Palmer’s murals can be seen at the State Capitol, Will Rogers World Airport, in Bricktown, and in various schools, churches, restaurants, and small towns across Oklahoma, as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Eastern Europe.
“The people at Bedford knew I was a mural painter and they approached me about doing some murals on the outside of their building,” said Palmer. “I teach photography at UCO and I’ve been a customer of the store for a long, long time, when it was formerly Epperson’s.”
Palmer reached the 25 year mark as a painting and photography professor at the University of Central Oklahoma this year.
Bedford Camera & Video opened in Oklahoma City last year after Epperson Photo-Video closed after 40 years. The building murals add a welcomed new cultural look to the community.
“We always thought the project should be about Oklahoma,” Palmer added. “Some of the images are historic such as the State Capitol, and the Oklahoma and American flag. I came up with the use of the stars to give it kind of an upbeat feeling.”
Palmer takes his own reference photographs of each image at a certain time of day to achieve the desired lighting affect.
Christian Bruggeman, Lab Manager and Outreach Coordinator said, “I personally like the color the murals have given to the building. It has already worked well for a backdrop with portrait photos. What a great place to take a picture in front of a camera store where you can walk in and have it printed all within a few minutes.”
Each year Palmer lectures on projects he has completed and holds workshops teaching other artists and educators about what he and his team of muralist do, and about each project individually.
Palmer’s murals come just in time for the birthday celebration of Bedford Camera & Video’s first year in Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 9 and 10. The two day event will feature specials, door prizes and free photography classes on both days.
The Arkansas based company began in 1974 has had a long history in the photo industry with multiple locations, which made the transition to Oklahoma City much easier.
Eric Williams, store manager said, “It is an ongoing process to reach out to the local community and these murals make a great statement of tradition along with a bright future with Bedford Camera.”
Bruggeman said, “Eric has spoken to me about customers already noticing the artwork and even someone from the Route 66 Society gave applause to the 66 sign used as part of the project.”
With over 1,500 murals across the state, Palmer feels everyone wins when they work together on mural projects. He said, “It is a great life actually doing what you enjoy and contributing to a better community.”
For more information, call 405-943-1047 or visit www.muralsbypalmer.com/
Local muralist creates new look for local camera store
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