Mural Artist Skye Walker: Loving the Earth. Appreciating Art. Inspiring Community.
Aug 01, 2015 04:29PM
● By By Erin Lehn Floresca
Local artist and muralist Skye Walker had an atypical upbringing. When he was in grade school, his parents—entertainers and pioneers in the sustainability movement—decided to blend their love of music, traveling and the environment and formed a family band called The EarthWalkers. For three years, Walker, his parents and his younger sister Amoris, traveled the country performing over 2,000 live shows at schools, community centers, churches and hospitals. “It was all about teaching others to save the environment,” he recalls. “On a small scale we were doing our part to influence our youth and community to protect Mother Earth.” This childhood instilled in him a deep appreciation for nature and creativity. It also inspired him to share his love of both with others.
In addition to Walker’s musical talents, this California-native discovered early on that he also had a flair for the visual arts. While he didn’t grow up tagging walls in the inner city, he did have an appreciation of street art and graffiti and spent a great deal of time during his high school years creating murals with his dad. “I learned a lot about art and murals from my dad and both of my parents were very supportive of my sister and I pursuing creative careers,” says Walker.
Art became his strong suit, and he was awarded a four year art scholarship to Oregon State where he majored in graphic design. After college, he moved back to Southern California and worked in the surf industry as a graphic designer. “Becoming a mural artist didn’t cross my mind. I thought it was hard work with a big canvas to fill,” he says. That is, until he got an airbrush. “It opened up a whole new world to me. Even though large scale murals were still a lot of work, they suddenly became much more fluid and so much more fun.”
Six years ago, his world unexpectedly opened up again when he lost his job as art director for a large yoga/outdoor clothing company. “They laid off a lot of people, including me. After that, I decided to start freelancing. Soon afterwards, Whole Foods in Encinitas reached out and asked me to design a mural. It awoke something in me,” he explains. “I loved that I was not behind a small desk in an office and the art I was creating was for the public eye.”
Now, Walker can’t stop making murals. “Bringing murals to the public is really my passion. In fact, there has been a huge resurgence and appreciation of street art. Mural artists get a chance to express themselves artistically on a grander scale and it always brings something good to the community. Street art is inspiring; it gets people thinking.”
Walker is commissioned to paint anything from small murals and installation work to massive walls spanning 100 feet by 30 feet and larger. His murals can take anywhere from one day to two weeks to create, depending on the scope of the project. When he first takes a look at his big blank canvas, he sees an endless world of possibilities, and enthusiastically dives in. “While I’m working on a mural, I’m in the zone, cranking away at it. It’s fun to get into the flow and see how it’s all going to come together.
During the process there are always challenges and obstacles—walls, texture, weather, construction—but there are plenty of incredible aha moments, too. And when it’s done, I’m always stoked to share it with others.”
While Walker’s artwork is not bound to any particular genre, his fans have noticed a recurring theme as a majority of his murals feature landscapes, the ocean and female figures. “A huge part of my work is paying homage to Mother Nature. To paint a landscape is beautiful enough, but adding in the human figure ties it all in. There is a story going on right now that is so important for all of us to tune into—it’s about being stewards of the planet and taking care of Mother Earth, her creatures and one another. I think it resonates with people on a subliminal level that these are the things we need to be thinking about the most.”
Skye Walker is an artist, creative director and muralist. He also does graphic design, illustration, drawings and paintings. His murals can be seen all over San Diego, including all Whole Foods Market locations. For more information, visit SkyeWalkerArt.com.