BATH — “We’re even having more fun than I thought.”

A detail shot, featuring Albert Einstein, Julia Child and Bill Murray, from the Chris Cart and Jack Gable mural collaboration project, that is heading to Tysons, Va. The artists were working on the project Saturday in Gable’s studio in Bath. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

That’s what 75-year-old Woolwich artist Jack Gable said of his newfound partnership with Hallowell mural artist Chris Cart. The duo is putting the finishing touches on a seven-piece project to decorate a three-restaurant complex in Tysons, Virginia. The project involved two 30-foot tall decorative murals and five six-foot-tall portrait paintings.

“I’ve always done murals pretty much on my own,” Gable said. “I just turned 75, and I thought it would be nice to get an associate. I had seen (Cart’s) work, and I called him up.”

Cart said the call from Gable came in last spring, but he was aware of the veteran artist beforehand. Both artists said this project could be the first of many and are discussing a more official partnership.

“I’ve known his work for a long time,” Cart said. “I had not met him until … last year. We hit it off, and it’s been going strong.”

One of two murals artists Jack Gable and Chris Cart are sending to a Tysons, Virginia, restaurant complex.

Cart and Gable have already shipped one mural — which depicts a carnival scene in the parking lot — down to the restaurant. It shows a number of people eating cotton candy, riding a merry-go-round and other amusement park rides. The second, which will be shipped down near the end of April, is designed as an extension of one of the restaurant’s bars adorned with the likenesses of a number of celebrities. He said Abraham Lincoln, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen all appear at the bar or on the dance floor.

“There’s about 50 people, and it’s crazy,” Cart said.

Gable said picking the correct associate came down to finding someone with a similar style under the realism umbrella. While Gable was commissioned to do the project, he said Cart is “every bit as involved” as he is.

“If you have someone who doesn’t paint like you do, it would be a foolish endeavor.” he said. “I picked Chris because I thought our styles would work together.”

Jack Gable, left, and Chris Cart work on their mural collaboration project, which is heading to Tysons, Virginia, on Saturday in Gable’s studio in Bath.

The murals are going to a large restaurant complex owned by Great American Restaurants, which owns a number of restaurants in the Washington, D.C., metro. The complex at 8051 Leesburg Pike in Tysons will house Patsy’s American, Randy’s Prime Seafood and Steaks and Best Buns Bakery and Cafe. Northern Virginia Magazine reported in February that the complex would open in May.

Gable, a former automobile designer for General Motors, said he has painted 14 murals for the Great American Restaurants group that is opening the restaurants. He said he has previously worked with Audi and Volkswagen and done paintings for the Smithsonian Institution, Maine State House and other prominent buildings.

Despite having painted a litany of murals, Gable, 75, described himself as a “gallery artist.” He said he began painting murals in the 1990s when an architect saw his work and commissioned a 1,700-square-foot mural from him.

“I received phone calls from architects asking if I was interested in doing some murals,” he said. “I like the challenge, and I like the range of work that comes (with painting murals).”

Cart has painted murals at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta and at Hall-Dale Elementary School, as well as murals in Bath and Brunswick. When his project with Gable is complete, he will turn his attention to a downtown Hallowell mural. The Kennebec Journal reported in January that the mural, to be on the north-facing side of the Vallee Real Estate building on Water Street, will celebrate the town’s history and highlight the culture of present-day Hallowell.

“I’ve still been in the design phase and trying to make (all the elements) fit in,” Cart said. “Hopefully, (I’ll) plunge in on priming next week.”

 

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666
[email protected]
Twitter: @SamShepME


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