Motorists will soon see a lot more color when driving through the City of Rayne.
Lafayette artist Dusty Reed is repainting the famous "Frog Mural" on the I-10 underpass as part of the city’s beautification efforts. He is known in Acadiana and many countries around the world as the Cajun Picasso.
"This project means everything to me. I remember being 8 years old and passing by this interstate, this underpass and seeing these frogs, and mentioning to my mom and dad that I would love to paint that one day," said Reed
Reed is known for developing his own style known as Colk Art; a blend of Cubism and Folk art.
Cubism was pioneered most notably by Picasso. It attempts to show different perspectives through abstract shapes. Reed couples it with a folk style that’s drawn from inspirations found in South Louisiana culture.
In highs school, Reed’s art teacher told him he was using too many black lines and that it made his work look childish like a coloring book. Instead of taking her advice, he went the other way and has incorporated the technique of using strong black lines into the Colk art he produces professionally today.
Reed says he’s keeping the integrity of the original underpass mural while adding different shades and vibrant colors to create more dimension.
"The most important thing is, because it’s a drive-by mural, it needs to have the colors that kind of flow together and just kinda draws your eye to it," explained Reed.
His assistant Joshua Doucet is used to large canvases as a commercial painter scaling the sides of 14 story hotels.
"I do a lot of the big stuff. I covered the whole area of the frog and water while he does the detail work because he’s the true artist. I just do the commercial stuff, that’s what I’m used to," said Doucet.
The artists chose latex paint which is more vibrant and has a longer lifespan than the paints used for the mural when it was initially painted in the early 1990’s.
"It’s Louisiana’s "city of murals" and this is the first mural you see before you get into Rayne. Rayne has over 30 murals on its buildings, and it’s just an honor to revamp this first one and it’s the biggest one," said Reed.