Local muralist wins State Fair mural derby

·2 min read

Aug. 16—Lebanon's unofficial resident muralist Scott Trafford competed against eight other artists at the Indiana State Fair mural derby.

For this competition, their canvasses weren't made out of linen or cotton; instead, they were made of metal. In just three days, Trafford completely covered the outside of a Chevy Malibu in paint to look like the quintessential Indiana summer.

Trafford said the artists had to submit their designs to a board from the State Fair so they would know what to expect.

One side of the car features a summer sun with vibrant red, orange, yellow and green colors fading into the flaming torch from the Indiana state flag. The hood of the car features a lady spilling her ice cold lemon shakeup.

The other side of the Malibu starts with the words, "Indiana Summer" in the "Stranger Things" style font, which is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. Connected by a gradient of summertime colors is a large ear of corn, which Trafford said the judges described as the most scrumptious one they've seen painted.

The back side of the car features one of the insects everybody thinks of when summertime comes around: Fireflies, or lightning bugs.

"I was probably working faster," Trafford said. "One of the other artists came over to me on Saturday and said, 'You need to slow down, you're not going to have anything else to paint on Sunday.' But I can always find something to paint."

It wasn't a solo project for Trafford. His wife, Katelyn, also helped him out.

"With the color transitioning throughout the whole car, people, and the judges were really impressed with how much I painted," Trafford said. "I did a lot of prep work and I don't have to think about the idea as I'm doing it. The prep work was fun, even for coming up with it in a short amount of time."

Throughout this last-minute design change and the prep work beforehand, Trafford said he wanted the car to look good when you stand in front of it and take a photo and for it to also be eye-catching.

"You can stand in front of it and everybody can see that it's an Indiana summer with the corn and the Stranger Things theme," Trafford said. "It screams Indiana. I knew I would catch the attention of the younger crowd with that aspect of it and the other side, let's just get wild and crazy. With all of the colors as the backdrop, it makes for a good photo."

All of the cars that were painted in the mural derby are located behind the Ferris wheel, close to the 42nd Street entrance near gate G12 of the fairgrounds in Indianapolis. They will be on display each day the fair is open until it closes on Aug. 21.