Irving—Dallas College’s North Lake Campus recently took steps toward beautifying the college grounds.
One of these steps included installing a large mural on the side of the G Building, which contains the art studio classrooms where the mural’s painter, Art Professor Brett Dyer,teaches.
“This project started about six years ago,” Dyer said. “I won a competition in Deep Ellum in 2015. I was one of 42 artists who were selected to paint murals downtown. The piece selected for me to paint was a piece I’d made for a faculty show at North Lake.
“The college president just casually said, ‘It would be nice to have one at the North Lake Campus, too,’like she hoped that someday I’d paint one there.I did the mural in Deep Ellum and then was asked to do one at the YMCA in Irving, which is now closed, unfortunately.
“We had a meeting at North Lake around 2015for campus beautification, and we were talking about a 10-year plan of revamping the campus. Someone mentioned it would be nice if we had murals that would help students [find their classroom buildings].
“I decided I wanted to go ahead and say I would do it. Our vice president of Business Services at the time, who is now the president of Eastfield Campus of Dallas College, said, ‘Can we afford you?’ I told them if they bought the paint, it would be an honor to paint the mural.
“I didn’t realize how serious they were,” Dyer said. “Maybe a year or two later, they asked me to submit six images of my work along with some of my favorite walls around campus that I was considering [for the mural]. Then I started working with Facilities Management. They helped me put together a PowerPoint with the images Photoshopped onto different walls.
“It was interesting to see how [the murals] looked [on different walls] without having to physically paint them. I think there were probably five or six different walls we submitted, and probably five or six different pieces of art we did a mockup up of.
“About four years went by, then I heard my work called,‘The Proof is in the Flowers’ was selected.They wanted it for a big wall on the G Building,” Dyersaid. “I was shocked because that [wall] was my favorite. It’s right there in the center of the school. It’s also in the building I teach in, and it is also probably the biggest wall on campus that is one big flat plane. I thought this was perfect.
“‘The Proof is in the Flowers’was also one of the paintings I hoped would get picked, because one of the things I love about our campus is the beautiful landscaping. We always have a bunch of flowers blooming all throughout the year.”
The project had some unusual hiccups along the way,including a global pandemic.
“I was going to start during the Spring Break that COVID hit,so the project got put on hold until Spring Break of this yearin March 2021,” Dyer said. “They gave me the green light and let me start even though the campus was technically closed. My friend and colleague, Professor Allison Gilles, offered to help.
“[When classes resumed], in addition to teaching and all the other stuff I was doing, I started going up there whenever I could. Allison came up there on the days she could help. We got the background knocked out and all of the solid colors laid out.The last two weeks I worked on it were in July. I was working on it by myself at the end to put on all the finishing details and everything while teaching summer classes.
“The title,‘The Proof is in the Flowers’on the original painting came from me growing up on a rural farm in East Texas.Sometimes, whenever my world seemed too big or too complex, and I would have doubts about different things, nature would soothe me. I would always see something that reminded me there’s so much more to life and everything’s connected.“Whenever a student comes to class on campus, they’re starting this whole new adventure. It’s something that’s going to grow.I hope whatever anybody’s feeling as they’re on campus, the mural gives them hope and makes them smile.”
“[The mural] makes me feel happy and almost joyful. It makes me think, ‘Alright, I’m going to have a good day here,’” said Crystal Santillo, who is in Dyer’s class.“I want to meet wonderful people,and this is the environment for that and for that feeling.”
“I’m thinking of becoming a high school level art teacher and maybe a tattoo artist,” student Bianca Garcia said. “[The mural] makes me feel a little more at ease, because I get stressed a lot, so having something calming on the wall outside of the building is really nice.”
Little did Dyer know at the time, his part of the beautification process was not over.
“I was told [the President’s Team] wanted me to do a second [mural] on the P Building,” Dyer said. “I’ll probably be starting within the next year or two. I need a little break while teaching face-to-face this fall. They’ve ordered the paint, and I got to pick all the colors and everything. [The work] is called ‘Metamorphosis,’ and will use a butterfly theme. I hope this one will be uplifting as well.”