Mural work underway on back wall of Hellbenders

A fox has been seen in downtown Elizabethton as it has been trying to dodge the raindrops that have fallen in the past few days.
It's not a real fox, but area residents are anxiously watching as mural artist Ernesto Maranje is starting to put his touches on a mural located on the back wall of downtown business Hellbenders, located directly across the street from the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library.
This project came about as a result of the City being awarded $12,200 from the Rural Arts Project Support grant from the TN Arts Commission which is paying for the project.
Maranje is a Cuban-American artist born in Chicago, Illinois in 1983 and raised in Miami, Florida. He discovered his interest in art at 27 while serving in the Coast Guard.
Maranje’s work explores flora and fauna, biological evolution, and plant and animal relationships. He renders these ideas with acrylic and spray paint on large-scale murals and canvas.
He has painted murals at home and abroad, including countries like Ukraine, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece and Spain while he has also worked on many public art projects with cities, arts and cultural divisions, non-profits and NGOs. His canvas work has been shown in solo and group shows in the U.S. and overseas.
To meet the grant's deadline, Maranje must have the work completed by May 15, 2024.
The public is encouraged to come by and watch as the mural begins to take life.
Arriving on location last Friday, the weather has kept the progress going slow on the project for Maranje.
"We had about five hours of work on the background and another three hours on the fox," Maranje said Wednesday afternoon. "The rain hopefully will move out soon and we will get some sunny weather."
The artist was having to use a leaf blower to make sure what work he was able to complete would be dry in the event rain showers returned.

mural 3
Despite only seven hours of work so far on the new wall mural, the details of one of the wall's creatures take shape as evidenced by the fox in the photo.

mural 2
Mural artist Ernesto Maranje has to incorporate a leaf blower to make sure the paint drys in the event rain returns while he works.

mural 1
A mural on the back wall of Hellbenders in downtown Elizabethton is beginning to take shape as artist Ernesto Maranje has been dodging the weather to move forward with the painting.