Overstreet, 42, is a graphic designer, illustrator, and muralist beginning to make a name for himself as a public artist.
Last year, he created a stylized, blue river design now flowing on the floor of the baggage-claim area at the
In April, his largest public art design was unveiled in
Overstreet said he's still learning the craft and business of public art. That craft, he said, is figuring out "who's your audience," and then creating art to make a place, or space people will remember.
"You have to think of public art in that way; what would define this area. That's how I chose the river" for the airport floor, he said. "Some people say the border defines the area. But the river (
Monica LombraÑa, director of aviation at the airport, said all the feedback about Overstreet's floor design has been positive.
"Not only do people like the new flooring from an aesthetics point of view; it makes the area brighter and the artwork is beautiful," LombraÑa said in an email. "But people really like the medallions with quotes from individuals who submitted their favorite memory or thing abut
Overstreet said he got the idea to include El Pasoans' quotes, solicited online, in his river design while interviewing people at the airport about what kind of artwork they'd like to see there.
"People (waiting for airplane passengers) would start talking about their life in
He decided including quotes from people would create an emotional connection for travelers to understand the city, he said.
Overstreet has the distinction of having the first project commissioned for the city's eight-year-old Public Art Program. That project, completed in 2008, is a mural of abstract depictions of native, medicinal plants painted on cinder block walls. The mural hides an industrial yard and is the centerpiece of a tiny, park-like lot along
"I didn't know people got paid for this (public art)," Overstreet said.
Overstreet does much of his art designs on sketchbooks and on a computer inside a garage converted to a work studio at his
"He's a good example of how an artist can go from regular artwork to doing public artwork," Howell said.
Overstreet is one of 150 artists from
Since the El Paso Public Art Program began in 2006, 33 works of art have been completed, not including several recently completed projects at the new Downtown baseball stadium, Howell reported.
This year's Public Art Plan has 29 proposed art projects, including several installations tied to street construction, and baseball stadium artworks, at a cost of more than
Most of the money to fund public art projects comes from 2 percent allocations from the budget of big city construction projects, where public artwork is installed. In the case of Overstreet's airport project, the money came from airport revenues.
Overstreet was paid
Overstreet said he's a part-time public artist for now. His full-time job is art director for Academic Technologies at the
"I'd like to eventually make a living being a public artist" full time, he said. "I have talked to public artists who told me you have to think five, 10 years ahead" for getting projects. "I am just learning the business aspects of art. I've thought about getting a business degree" to help with that process, he said.
Overstreet said he's an "
The airport project opened the door for him to compete for the
He'll do a similar version of his river design inside a rental car facility just getting under construction at the
More information: mitsuoverstreet.com
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