Internationally acclaimed Cuban-American artist and ACU alumus Rolando Diaz is bringing the ocean to Downtown Abilene.
Tom Rose, owner of Thomas Everett’s Fine Furniture, saw Diaz paint a mural in Peru recently and asked him to do a similar project on the side of the the building on South 1st Street between Elm Street and Sycamore Street. The building is 145 feet in length, the majority of which will soon feature an ocean-themed mural.
“I think it’s going to be very nice, a real asset to the city,” Rose said. “The artist is fantastic for bringing his talents here. The mural is going to be very eye-catching.”
Diaz said he’s pleased to be back in Abilene.
“This is a really large work, and this is actually my largest, public, outside mural,” Diaz said. “I’m glad it happened to work out in Abilene because of my career my years here at ACU, and I have so many dear friends who live here.”
Diaz said he chose an ocean theme because, before coming to ACU, he had grown up in Miami and lived close to the ocean.
“When I got to Texas, I was too young, and I didn’t check out that it was going to be landlocked,” he said. “I always wanted the ocean nearby, and of course I couldn’t get it, so I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to bring the ocean to Abilene,'” he said.
In a way, Abilene is where Diaz started his career as an artist.
“The mural happens to be close to The Grace Museum,” Diaz said. “My very first one-man show, One Common Thread, at the beginning of my career was at The Grace Museum, so everything has come full circle.”
Diaz said the recent rainy weather has made progress difficult. Diaz has blocked out two more weeks of painting to finish the mural in time.
“So far it has been tough,” Diaz said. “The first day, I couldn’t work at all. Today has been a beautiful day, and I’ve managed to get something done. Tomorrow is supposed to rain again, so I am just playing it by ear.”