LEONARDTOWN, Md. – In 2021, the Leonardtown Arts Council began looking for artists who could paint several murals around the town. One of the requests was for a mural on the storage building across from the Good Earth grocery store.
Tom Rogers and Dan Ropp applied and submitted their idea for a mural to the arts council. They were eventually selected to bring their imagination to life.
Tom Rogers and Dan Ropp met while they were both enlisted in the United States Navy. They bonded over their mutual passion for art.
“I’ve been doing art since I was old enough to draw on the walls much to my parents’ frustration. I grew up in a small town in east Texas and left after high school when I joined the Navy,” Tom Rogers told TheBayNet.com. “I did search and rescue for several years and then got into test and development which led me to southern Maryland working on NAS Patuxent River base. All of my 20 years of naval aviation, I’ve incorporated art into my life, doing retirement plaques, squadron, and program office art including patches, logos, murals, and more.”
Tom and Dan both wanted to work on projects together, including their piece in Leonardtown, they also completed a mural at the SOF Market Beer Garden.
However, this mural wasn’t a cakewalk, with delays and strenuous weather conditions, Tom and Dan both had to adapt and evolve as artists to finish this masterpiece.
The pair couldn’t start working on the mural until November of 2021, after various delays. But they did what they could, working on the painting whenever they had the chance. Some sessions would be 30 minutes, and some would be a couple of hours.
“Due to the temperature dropping with winter weather, we had to order special paint from Germany that was specifically formulated to dry quickly and be usable below 40 degrees,” Rogers said. “Shorter daylight forced us to work into the night. High winds, weather, covid, being fathers and taking care of family all led to a longer timeline.”
However, through all of the obstacles and challenges, they finished the mural in March of this year, two months ahead of schedule.
The mural represents many different aspects of the community. They wanted people to be able to relate to the piece and make it special and unique to the area.
“We had a large set of requirements to include onto this art, including southern Maryland, Leonardtown, butterflies, community, and inclusion. We wanted artwork that told a story and something that everyone could look at and find something they recognized and could relate to,” says Rogers. “I thought of Alice in Leonardtown as an idea that could give us the ability to include all of those things. We brainstormed the characters and layout into something we loved and hope the community loves as well…We wanted a feast for the eyes, something everyone could look at and find something new each time. We hope everyone that looks sees something they can recognize, relate to, and brings a smile to their face.”
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