Jeremy Price, a local artist and muralist, gets excited about all of his projects, but he was especially enthusiastic about a recent restoration he did of a mural at Alfred M. Barbe High School.
“This three-day project was wonderful for so many reasons,” Price said. “I got to do another art project at my high school, saved this mural and got to share connections with Barbe students since 1984.”
The large mural was based off of a design created years ago of the “Barbe buccaneer,” mascot of Barbe High School.
Price said restoring old murals is “visually rewarding while also being good for the spirit,” while at the same time helping to preserve memories.
“It’s pretty cool, too, that I was a month old when this mural was painted in 1984, and our son, Maverick, was a month old during its restoration 35 years later — while the mural and I are hitting our 35-year mark,” he said.
His wife, Hannah, is also an artist and painted with him on part of the restoration. “This became a family project of sorts, so we really enjoyed that aspect, as well,” he said.
Price posted his progress with the mural on Facebook throughout the project, saying in one post it was “always great to follow the brushstrokes of the past, and every mural has a story. Thank you Barbe! Thank you Angie Bonvillain and Allison Savoie! Thank you Senior Class of 2019, and thank you to the sponsors, Mrs. Sutton, and everyone else involved.”
Built in the 1970s, Barbe High School’s first graduation was in May 1973, with 260 graduates. The school now has an enrollment of more than 1,900 students.
When the doors of the new school opened, it was decided the school colors would be blue and white and its mascot would be a buccaneer. Those details have remained unchanged through the last 48 years.
Asked how this art project came about, Price said the school was searching for an artist to do a mural for the Class of 2019 to leave to the school, but they decided instead to restore the buccaneer mural with an update on the design.
“It took me three days to complete,” Price said. “I reached out to all of the artists who had worked on the original one after I found a barely legible list of their names on the wall of the mural, and they all loved the finished product. A few of them came and hung out and even helped paint a little on the mural.”
He said the paint he uses is top of the line and is guaranteed for 10 years “but will pretty much last forever, although it will fade a little over time.”
The artist, who has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in printmaking, drawing and painting, said he was creative from a young age. When his parents grounded him, he would spend that time drawing his favorite musicians. “Well, I was a little mischievous, so I guess you could say I got plenty of practice,” he said with a laugh.
“I would describe myself as a self-taught artist but guided through my mentors like Gerry Wubben, Heather Ryan Kelley, Larry Schuh, Lisa Reinauer, Kenneth Baskin and Allison Savoie from Barbe,” Price said. “At McNeese, the program gives you tools to work with, and they do teach a lot of techniques, color theory and art history, but they try not to hinder a student’s innate art sensibility.”
Price has completed multiple mural projects, and his work can be seen all over town — especially in the downtown area — including both exterior and interior murals for several local businesses.
“I’m doing a little more work at Barbe, and we’re (he and Hannah) about to start on some murals at Lake Charles Charter Academy,” he said, adding that he has some other exciting projects in the works but is waiting to share details until he’s further along in the process.