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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Man uses brush to paint pride into St. Louis area neighborhoods

Ray Harvey's murals can be seen all over the area. He takes pride in bringing new life to old walls and giving his gift of art to a neighborhood.

ST. LOUIS — You don’t necessarily need to visit a museum to see great art in St. Louis. There is art painted all around the area on walls. Murals are bringing color to otherwise dim and empty spaces.

Ray Harvey has been using his brushes for years.

“I’ve been an artist all my life,” Harvey said, whose work you’ve probably seen. “I’ve done over 500 murals.”

He paints a bit of everything. Harvey said he’s done about 400 subjects and loves the variety. He has painted everything from men reading newspapers to people playing instruments. His work also graces St. Louis landmarks, including the ceiling inside the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

When Harvey paints, he likes to paint big.

“I did a project in Eureka, Missouri, that was 17,000 square feet,” Harvey said. “Frankly, I paint large murals honestly because I don’t paint very well small. I call them highway paintings. They have to look good from the highway.”

But getting them to look good is no easy task. Sometimes he puts in 15-hour days on his works. What ends up looking good from far is hard to gage up close. When he paints Harvey can’t step back to check out his work.

“Scale, proportion are the biggest things on a mural, but I’m 2 or 3 feet away from the wall. So, it’s very difficult to really see what you are doing. You have to really trust your design, trust your layout,” Harvey said.

He’s been painting for 30 years. It has become his passion, and he is very passionate about painting the American Flag.

“There’s just something about the flag. It just kinda wraps itself around you and you feel better,” he explained.

Harvey knows the colors he paints won’t last forever.

“It is only paint and it will go-by-the-wayside,” he said.

But before the colors fade, he takes pride in bringing new life to old walls, putting his name on it and giving his gift of art to a neighborhood.

“The minute I sign it, I gotta turn it over to the community and it becomes theirs,” Harvey said.

You can see more of Harvey’s works by visiting his website, Ray Harvey Art.