The building was formerly a blacksmith and has a history as a farrier/tack shop. Thomas chose to do a layered design that celebrates the pull of the horse. His interpretation of the design is noted as, “I think the design is evocative of a draught team, celebrates the anatomy of the horse, and most importantly honors the history of the building, without feeling kitschy or nostalgic. Bookended by the clearest representations, the inside section of layers dissolves a bit. I hope this makes the imagery not oppressively dominant or photographic, and instead starts to read more abstractly as a wave like pattern or architectural frieze. I am also thinking this aspect will help it to fit into the context of the historic architecture of the building and its neighbors.”
Mural sponsored by Kjellstrom Family Foundation
126 N. Madison Street, Rockford (south facing)
Born in Kentucky, raised in Ohio, and currently residing in Iowa City, Iowa, Thomas Agran is very interested in the Midwest -- for both its charms as well as its challenges. He is particularly dedicated to the Midwestern landscape, its total transformation through agriculture, and the political, social, and environmental consequences of that change. Some of his paintings also explore the complicated nexus of food, agriculture, nostalgia, and marketing. Agran has taught painting and drawing at the university level since 2011, and worked for 3 years as the Director of Public Art for the Iowa City Downtown District. In addition to his studio work, he has designed, executed, managed, and mentored dozens of mural projects -- from private commissions to large municipal state work in historically sensitive areas to community engaged and participatory mural and public art projects. In addition to his studio practice, mural work, and teaching, Agran also works as a consultant for murals and other public art projects and programs.