Murray becomes focus in artist’s mural series


The first of two murals painted by Ashland, Kentucky, native Elias Reynolds is located on the corner of 3rd and Main Street. (Photo courtesy of @murraykentucky on Instagram)

Morgan Tinin, Contributing Writer

Aiming to promote community involvement and connection, a Kentucky artist has been hired to paint a second mural in Murray.

The first mural painted by Elias Reynolds, artist and family man from Ashland, Kentucky, is located on 300 Main St. is a collage of images of Racer One and a picture of City Hall with the tagline, “MURRAY Feels Like Home.”

Hired by the Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau, Reynolds says he plans to complete his next mural within the next two weeks.

The design for the first mural was originally intended for the side of the Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau building, but the dimensions didn’t fit. Instead of casting aside the design, the Bureau commissioned Reynolds to paint it in a different spot.

Reynolds starts his design process by creating a mock-up sketch. He attempts to combine his own style with the wishes of the commissioner and then sends the design for approval. Reynolds responded to a “call to artists” put out by the Bureau, and his design was selected.

Reynolds’s focus is mural work, and he mostly uses spray paint to complete each mural. A signature of Reynolds’s murals is their vibrancy.

“I like to play around with color a lot and create something bold and bright that people want to look at,” he said.

Reynolds first became interested in art by watching his own mother paint.

“It wasn’t her full-time job,” Reynolds said. “Just something she did as a hobby. I watched her painting occasionally growing up so I think I got a lot of that from her.”

Reynolds earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting at Eastern Kentucky University and currently lives with his wife and three daughters.

He said his wife plays a big role in his artistic pursuits by helping him with commissions and handling the business side of his art.

“She’s business minded, so she’s really good at networking and helping me with pricing,” Reynolds said.

His wife owns Jewel Art Gallery in downtown Ashland, Kentucky. It features over 40 local artists, and Reynolds said he finds a lot of inspiration from going into the gallery and viewing local art.

Besides his mural work, Reynolds likes traditional painting as well, using mainly acrylic paint and pastels. He says he finds that his mural work helps him creatively when it comes to other forms of art.

“I think it’s been a good thing to branch out and test my boundaries,” Reynolds said. “It’s a lot different than being in a studio and working on a smaller size painting.”

When he’s not painting, Reynolds likes to listen to music. He likes to paint portraits, specifically of his favorite musicians. He didn’t start painting with the intention of making it his career; he originally just liked doing it. He still finds enjoyment in painting for fun as well as for his job.

Reynolds filters commissions via phone, email and his website,

Reynolds said the second mural will feature the state of Kentucky with “Murray” written inside. It celebrates the town of Murray itself as well as Murray State. Once the mural is installed, the bureau will set up tables and chairs in front of the mural for a small viewing area. The mural will take one to two weeks to install.