My Hometown: An artist’s dream

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – You may have driven by a mural on Columbia and seen a bearded man working away. Jerrod Tobias was meant to be an artist. “I don’t know what else I would do without my life, honestly. I feel like this is what I’m here for. I’ve worked my whole life for this honestly.”

He started doing mural work about five years ago. Sometimes he seeks out where he wants to paint but for the Columbia mural, he was sought out. Some of the most recognizable include one at the Firefly Coffee House on North Anthony. Plus one at the Brass Rail. But this work is by far his biggest. “This piece is 6,000 square feet. It’s 20 feet by 300 feet. So it’s 3 times larger than any previous piece we’ve done.”

Tobias doesn’t think he’s done something as big as this on a public scale either. Especially with all of the growth around the Rivergreenway and the Arts Campus. “There’s a lot of variables and this seems to touch on all of those. I don’t think it would have happened without all of those.”

He’s not in it alone. His wife Cara, who is now an artist by proxy, was somewhat roped in to help. “We wanted everybody to like it from the get go,” she said.

But with only one day off in the first three weeks of painting, it’s definitely some quality time unlike any other. “It’s the greatest challenge that we’ve taken on as a couple in our business. It’s nothing like raising children but it’s a tremendous physical and mental challenge.”

After three years of planning, the two began July 11th and have gone through 70 gallons of paint. “We’re trying to make the most of this priceless opportunity and give the absolute most beautiful thing that we can create. That’s our goal.”

Up at Three Rivers Apartments we were able to get a bird’s eye view of their hard work. And they took a breather, away from the paint fumes, to reflect on their time together creating it. “I’ve worked blue collar jobs since I was 15 years old. Cara and I both went to school and paid our dues and have worked plenty of different jobs. We work very hard at this and we believe in what we’re doing and I feel that it is the best way that I can make a positive impact on my impact.”

Check out Jerrod Tobias’ work here.

NewsChannel 15’s Brett Thomas introduced Tobias last year during the initial planning stages. See that story here.