On Friday, the final touches were put on a project at Three Oaks Veterinary Services that updated the aesthetic of the exterior to all those driving by. A mural that has been roughly four months in the making, this work of art was commissioned by Dr. Lauren Taylor and completed by Shane Pierce, founder of Abstract Dissent. After seeing his work on social media, the young doctor contacted the 44-year-old painter and got to work planning it out with him. Once he was able to make the trip to Brooksville, the painting only took one work week from start to finish. The joint vision between the two began on Monday and the final spray of paint went up on Friday.
The faces of a cat and dog are grandly depicted as they highlight the front of the building. They are framed by blue circles and set against a black background with other smaller details dotting the front of the clinic. Early in the planning phase, Dr. Taylor considered having the murals painted on the back of the clinic. With an ALDI set to be built behind the animal hospital’s property, this option could have made for an intriguing view for those future grocery shoppers. The young doctor joked that it would have been like a mullet for the clinic being “business in the front, party in the back.”
Pierce has been creating his style of art for the last six years. It started organically with passersby seeing his work and asking him to paint images that were representative of their organization or business. Depending on the cause he may donate the piece. This was the case when a non-profit bicycle shop approached him for a commission. He appreciated the work they did, so he footed the bill for the project.
“Instead of it being about me, I shared about the people I was working for because I thought that was more interesting and that they were doing more work than I was because they’re doing all this community stuff and so I would always highlight them and talk about them not me. Look at this cool shop. Everyone should check it out and support them. They’re doing all this cool stuff.”
The artist has made more paintings for schools than anything else with the number totaling nearly five dozen. He’s done so much more than that, though. He was commissioned to paint pieces regarding trains in Blacksburg, South Carolina and Hearne, Texas. These were not coincidences either as these opportunities snowballed into the next. “You do a brewery, all the breweries call. You do an animal hospital, all the animal places call. You do a school, all the schools call.” When Dr. Taylor saw Pierce had painted a piece for another animal clinic, she decided it would be worth reaching out to him in the hopes of enlisting his services.
So, why a mural?
“We’ve been renovating and trying to give a new look to the building, but also stick with the older look,” Dr. Taylor said. “I didn’t want to change too much. Once again, still trying to preserve Dr. Ned’s legacy. One of the things that I have asked a lot of people about is, ‘When you think of Three Oaks, what do you think about?’ And everyone says the horse mural.”
On top of honoring the iconic mural that was crafted during Dr. Szempruch’s tenure at Three Oaks, Dr. Taylor also took inspiration from the murals that grace the faces of various buildings around downtown Brooksville. She felt that since the local townspeople have been so accepting of those paintings that her business should be able to have one too. “If they can do it, why not?” Dr. Taylor said.
Both sides were accommodating towards the other and mentioned how they wanted to respect the other’s ideas. Since the clinic was paying Pierce for the mural, he wanted to honor their wishes. Dr. Taylor, though, loved the artist’s work and wanted to give him more freedom to express himself. The result was a smooth back-and-forth with the design changing a handful of times until she was “in love” with the final draft.
If completing free paintings for various non-profit organizations does not represent the kind of man Pierce is, Dr. Taylor recounted a moment from the last week that drives the point home. During the process, he was feeling pain in his back, so the doctor allowed him to take a rest on a padded armchair. When she returned, she found him asleep on the chair with one of the clinic’s cats asleep on top of him. This cat, Ricochet, is not particularly friendly with people, however. So, for the shy, three-legged feline to feel comfortable enough to curl up and sleep on his lap spoke wonders to Dr. Taylor.
In the future, the veterinarian would like to do more with painting when it is financially feasible. She joked she would like to “drag him back out here someday” to do some more artwork. Barring that, Dr. Taylor is considering leaving an opening on the back or side wall of the clinic where the employees park so people can be free to express themselves artistically. That is when her time at the University of Florida shone through.
“I was thinking about maybe opening up for more creative art on the back,” said the veterinarian. “I don’t know. Maybe if somebody wanted to put something on there and just have it like an expression wall – reminds me of Gainesville, the expression wall. Yes, I would love to host people that just want to express themselves and there’s not a lot of places here that you could… the options are limitless [at the clinic] and very open at this time.”