Durham County

Downtown Durham has a new mural but you’ll need 3-D glasses to look at it

This is a detail from Frank Kreacic’s 3-D painting “Durham — Charging into the 21st Century,” on view at City Hall Plaza.
This is a detail from Frank Kreacic’s 3-D painting “Durham — Charging into the 21st Century,” on view at City Hall Plaza. The Herald-Sun

The Bull City, past and future, is coming at you in 3-D across from City Hall.

City workers and passersby, viewing through 3-D glasses, raved about the new piece of art – Frank Kreacic’s “Durham – Charging into the 21st Century” – as it was being installed Friday across from the City Hall lobby,

Kreacic, along with his wife Jill and their children Grant and Lia, were on hand as city workers Kevin Fuentes and Ulesis Vera measured and bolted the three panels of the painting to three separate alcoves.

Kreacic had high praise for those who installed the piece: “As the artist, it’s great,” he said. “It looks awesome.”

The painting is a marriage of modern techniques and history. Kreacic uses modern photo editing software to capture images with paint and clear resin. On his website, the Raleigh artist calls his method “3D Resin-ance Painting.”

Kreacic said he based the color scheme of the three panels on the Durham city flag with its bright red, blue and yellows. Viewed through the proper 3-D glasses, the reds appear closer to the viewer, with the blues and cooler colors receding into the background.

The letters for “Durham,” the only white in the painting, represent the stars of the flag, he said.

Kreacic chose images that represent Durham’s history. A train wheel represents the importance of the railroad. A closer look shows an old street map. The people in the painting represent the true engine of Durham, Kreacic said.

As the viewer looks at the three paintings from left to right, the bull in the far right image races ahead symbolically into the 21st Century.

The paintings will be on view for a year, after which the three panels will be joined together as a single painting and relocated, possibly inside City Hall, Kreacic said. The paintings can be enjoyed without 3-D glasses, but those who want to see the full effect can borrow the glasses from the City Hall lobby.

“Durham – Charging into the 21st Century” is one of several works in the city’s expanded public art program. Visual artists Julia Gartrell and Julienne Alexander recently completed a mural in Southern Boundaries Park. Brenda Miller Holmes is leading participants in Durham’s YouthWork Internship Program in designing and painting three utility boxes in Durham neighborhoods. Other projects include art for the Black Wall Street Gardens on Mangum and Main streets, and a project for the Chapel Hill Street underpass.

Kreacic’s other works include “The Bat and the Cat,” “Avengers” and “Tuskegee.” A historical World War II photo inspired “Tuskegee,” which shows three members of the ground crew that helped the legendary Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. With this work, Kreacic wanted to honor the ground crew, who do not get much attention, he said.

About the City Hall painting, Kreacic said, “I want people to look at it and say, This is a beautiful place. ... It’s important to get peole to realize there’s beauty in Durham.”

Cliff Bellamy: 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1