The magic of a mural

If a picture is worth a thousand words then Fairfielders have a lot to say.

The talking point was a stark concrete railroad support on the Post Road, near the intersection of Mill Plain Road, which has been brought to life by John Morley.

If passing motorists slow their pace enough and glance into the parking lot of Pia Lauren's Spa Di Bellezza at 1828 Post Road, they will see a mural depicting a quaint scene of a tree on top of a hill, with a waterfall and the word "Peace."

"Once you spot it, it moves you," said LiLi Whitmore, a Fairfield resident who called the Fairfield Citizen to share her pleasure with the painting.

John Ellis, owner of J & R Service Center, Inc., watched the mural come to life from the front window of his shop, which is located across the street from the Lauren's spa. "It was neat to watch it come together," Ellis said. "It's pretty cool."

"Every body I talked to thinks it's pretty neat," he added.

Nick Frattaroli, owner of Dairy Queen on the Post Road and the boyfriend of Pia Lauren, said Morley is a handyman with a knack for painting.

"He's just naturally talented," Frattaroli said.

Lauren added that Morley's artistic abilities seem to just "come from within."

Frattaroli said, "I think that if someone has a wall or something of that sort that doesn't look too pretty, it doesn't hurt to paint it."

Paul Jordanopoulos, owner of Media Wave on the Post Road, did just that, but he never expected so many people would care. Jordanopoulos said he painted over the mural on the side of his building -- it featured movie characters -- because the structure was in need of a fresh coat and the mural was badly faded.

After doing so, many customers expressed disappointment that the mural was gone.

But fans of the mural need not fret. "What I plan on doing is putting a new mural up," he said. "Create a little contest out of it."

Jordanopoulos said he will seek submissions from local artists for a movie-themed mural and put the final decision in the hands of his customers. He hopes to have a new mural up in the spring.

Asked what it is about murals that people like so much, Jordanopoulos replied: "When you add a mural, you're kind of personalizing it ... adding a human touch."

Ellis fondly recalled how, in 1976, fire hydrants around town were painted to look like Red Coats and Colonial soldiers, to commemorate the nation's bicentennial. He said projects of this nature are great for community spirit.

Ellis cited a few locations that could be ideal spots for more murals, and suggested a program like "Adopt-a-Spot" be created, so that businesses and organizations could paint barren walls around town.