Gym Experiences Another Upgrade
October 18, 2012 by Ben Smiley
Freshly painted murals and a painting have been added to the Thomas Jefferson gym.
Upon coming back to school many students have noticed that there is a new addition to the gym at TJ. The new additions are two murals and a painting on the fold up walls in the gymnasium.
The murals were painted by a man named Tom Ward, who is a local artist who has done several works in the Denver Metro area. Ward gained his experience by studying with several great artists, such as Ramon Kelley, Craig Pursley, Andrew Lucas, and more. He gained his formal art education at the California College of the Arts. “I have been painting murals professionally for eleven years, but I also did some as a kid,” Ward said. “Currently I am restoring an 80-year-old mural at Denver University in a theater that was originally done by John Edward Thompson.” Outside of this project, Ward also helps out Denver University with setting up their art gallery shows and working on their art collection warehouse as well. Ward also works on personal fine art projects and public art, and also has spent some of his career working for newspapers, magazines, and book publishers.
The ideas for the murals and the painting were presented to Ward by TJ CCT Teacher and Boys’ Basketball Coach Grant Laman. “Laman presented me the ideas by putting together a nice comp in Photoshop, and then I elaborated on it to make it more active and athletic looking,” Ward said. This is the first mural Tom Ward has ever painted for a high school, but he has done sets of murals in elementary schools prior to doing the mural in the TJ gym.
The first mural says, “Home of the Spartans,” and is painted in a gold font that mimcks an older style of writing. Ward says this fits TJ because the gym is the home of the athletically minded Spartan community. The second mural that is on the north gym wall reads, “Beware of the Spartans,” which also fits Thomas Jefferson athletics because the sports that are played in the gym are typically very successful, such as basketball and volleyball. This mural is also painted in the older styled gold font.
As a whole, the murals took about 50 hours. “I am a rather fast painter,” Ward said.
In addition to the two murals, there is a highly detailed painting of a Spartan in the gym. “The Spartan painting in the gym really adds to the intimidation factor during sporting events,” said Senior Jackson Epstein. The painting is a Spartan bursting through the fold up wall. This Spartan was painted to look very intimidating; he is carrying a spear and a shield. “The painting looks like it is right out of the movie 300,” Epstein said. The atmosphere behind the Spartan that is bursting through the wall is very dark and cloudy. Ward made it look as if the Spartan is bursting through a brick wall, as there are bricks scattered across the painting.
The Spartan community thinks very highly of these murals. “They add a whole new dimension to the environment in the gym while attending sporting events,” Sophomore Corey Hernandez said.