In most cities and towns, hanging out in an alley can lead to trouble. Anytime an alley is featured in a movie or television scene, the characters are usually sleeping, going through garbage or being chased. The idea of stopping for a selfie doesn't come up in the fictional world of entertainment. But, here in the real world of Evansville, Indiana taking a selfie in a downtown alley is encouraged; as long as you are in Self.e Alley.

You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be

I had the chance to pick brain of Abby Elpers, one of the designers of the newest mural in Self.e Alley. Abby is the Marketing Communications Manager for Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville.

Selfe.e Alley is one of the coolest places to take photos in Evansville, and this new neon mural is totally awesome! What inspired this particular design?

"Who doesn’t love the 80’s and 90’s? 😊 This mural is funny because Michael Smith (artist) and I had a completely different mural mocked-up and ready to go, but something didn’t feel right. It was beautiful but it wasn’t happy enough. And given the year that we’ve all been dealt, I couldn’t go through with it. During our last mural together (Greeting from Evansville, fall 2018) I expressed to Michael my excitement about doing something neon in the future. There is an artist in New York who has a neon style which I shared with Michael to explore. Since then, we have stayed connected and even shared neon and neon-like murals back and forth.  When our first design didn’t feel right, I knew it was time to go back to my love for neon."

(Alex Morgan Imaging)
(Alex Morgan Imaging)

So, you have worked on both murals in Self.e Alley, why is this such an important project for Evansville?

"Both murals in the alley are quality of place projects by the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville. We understand that mural art and a vibrant downtown makes our community a more attractive place to live and work. It also helps put us “on the map” when photos from the alley are shared on social media and Evansville is mentioned/tagged, etc.  I love reading and seeing all the stories shared!"

Evansville's 2nd mural in Self.e Alley by Michael Smith.
Evansville's 2nd mural in Self.e Alley by Michael Smith.

Once you had the idea to go neon, how do you go about making the design a reality?

"For two days I searched all over the internet trying to find examples of neon murals I liked, but I wasn’t impressed. I started researching neon signs instead and came across an image on Pinterest of a dessert museum (outside the United States) with a neon sign display wall and said, “that’s it!!” My coworker, Ashley Riester, and I started working on it the next day and sent a rough mock-up to Michael. He reviewed it and said, “I think you might be onto something here.”

How do you even get paint to look like it is 'Lit' up?

"Michael explored the neon technique further and practiced on some sample pieces in his garage before starting in the alley. Each image has five layers of color which gives the dimensional and glowing look. He’s so awesome"

You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be Neon Mural was designed by Abby Elpers and Ashley Riester of the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville.

Artist: Michael Smith from Orange Moon Art Studio

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