Situated at a historic train station from a 19th Century Appalachian rail line, the Station at 19E is a soulful backpackers’ hostel and community Pub in eastern Tennessee. I was invited to come paint this wall of the pub in late 2017, just as the hostel build-out was picking up pace. Chock full of meaningful markers for local community members and through-hikers alike, the mural is a love letter to all who pass through. The central object is a recreation of the historic trains that once stopped right at the pub itself. Conducting the train is the chairman of the local Appalachian Trail Association chapter, a beloved local figure responsible for caring for and improving broad stretches of the iconic trail. I had the great fortune of getting to present his likeness to him directly when I was still in town, and found his rosy-cheeked smile just as compelling in person as it was in the reference pictures I painted him from.
The background landscape all matches the nearby topography that hikers would have been gazing upon on their trek to the hostel. White markings such as the one pictured on the stone here are the “you’re still on track!” indications that serve as lifelines for weary travelers with their whole current lives on their backs. Lastly, the rhododendron flowers in the left foreground are a point of local notoriety and pride, and the feature of an annual festival and permanent botanical garden.
Every inch of this mural is a celebration of the community it was made for. I hope that’s what all my art can do.
Approx 6′ x 25′
Latex paint on interior wall