Soft puffs of paint spray from a can as Erin Cobb, 29, delicately layers white over the plum branches of a cherry blossom tree.
On a lower section of wall, Livi Jackson, 20, paints over baby blue with a shocking hunter orange.
“The main goal of this wall is to avoid using the color blue,” Jackson said.
“It sounds like a joke, but there is so much blue on the other wall,” Cobb said.
The street-style artists from Lewiston are donating their time and paint to transform the white, cinder block walls of the community room at Pathways Inc., on Minot Avenue in Auburn.
The project is the brainchild of Stephanie Bell, the service planner at the local agency for adults and children with intellectual disabilities. She wanted to liven up the space where some of their 75 customers gather at the beginning and end of their days, but the nonprofit runs on a limited budget.
She placed a query in the Sun Journal’s Sun Spots and Jackson answered.
“It had all been this dreary gray,” Bell said of the community room. “We work with people with disabilities, and we just wanted to brighten up their room and make it more homey.”
The two have incorporated aspects of the Twin Cities and parts of the nonprofit in the murals. By the door, piles of wood are painted to represent the wood lot Pathways Inc. owns and operates. The Androscoggin River falls at the heart of the Twin Cities graces a prime spot. Then there are hidden details such as an octopus and fish.
“They really love it,” Bell said of Pathway’s consumers.
For Cobb and Jackson it’s an opportunity to do what they love doing on a large scale.
“Any opportunity to make art on a big scale is an opportunity I am going to take,” Cobb said. He started getting into the street-style of art as a young child by drawing on the walls of his childhood bedroom, he said.
“We added flowers because they participate in gardening,” Jackson said. “We just wanted something bright to liven up the room.”
The duo start with a sketch “that will be completely ignored once we get into it,” Cobb said. They go from there, each adding their own personality to the collaboration.
It takes them about four weeks to finish a wall, working usually on Wednesdays. And their cash flow dictates how much work they can get done in a week.
On average, the two are spending around $60 per week in spray paint, house paint, rollers and brushes.
“We’ve gotten reimbursed here and there, which has been nice,” Jackson said. “We started adding up how much it cost us in the beginning and I just really don’t want to know anymore!”
Longtime friends and co-workers, the two acknowledge that the bragging rights are a cool benefit. But it’s also a way for them to create without others pestering them to see their works-in-progress.
“It’s quiet and art is just happening,” Jackson said.