On Thursday, November 14, a captivating 157 foot mural was completed on the exterior wall of the Rocket Storage facility on Commerce Parkway in LaGrange. The 27’ high mural was reproduced as a seamless vinyl banner from a 15’ original oil painting created by Mike Prather, a local artist with a studio on East Main Street. Stop by for a one-of-a-kind souvenir photo opp!
Mark Haertzen, an owner of the business, commissioned Prather to compose the painting to depict a panoramic view of Oldham County’s scenic horse farms with an overhead train trestle. After spending ten weeks on conceptual sketches and oil painting, Prather then coordinated printing and installation of the finished product.
The 4,300 square foot mural itself was printed and mounted by U.S.A. Image, the same company responsible for the large “Hometown Heroes” murals featuring celebrities such as Muhammad Ali and Jennifer Lawrence on buildings throughout Louisville.
The idea came to Haertzen after he admired a similar mural at the Lexington Airport across from the Keeneland racetrack. “I’ve always marveled at it and thought it would be fun to do something like that in our community,” Haertzen said. “We wanted to liven up the business park along Commerce Parkway and help make our ordinary metal building more aesthetically pleasing,” Haertzen continued.
“We were acquainted with Mike Prather’s extraordinary artistic talent and approached him with the concept,” he said. The massive wall offered Mike a blank canvas. Having grown up in Oldham County, he has created a landmark that may become an iconic, must–see attraction for tourists visiting the area,” Haertzen said. “We may need to add a parking area for picture taking.”
When discussing the Rocket Storage project with Mark, he emphasized that he didn’t want a sign but a work of art that could add beauty to an otherwise bland metal structure. Some of Oldham County’s prettiest landscapes are its’ rolling hills and iconic countryside. With horse farms sprinkled around every highway and winding back roads from Prospect to Ballardsville, we combined these elements with the presence of a slow moving freight train that is iconic to our area.
My objective was to create an image that a driver, passenger, jogger or cyclist might stop or slow down to appreciate the beauty that surrounds them. They may ask themselves how the train has impacted their lives in how we see it, wait on it, frustrate us when we have to be somewhere or simply how majestic it feels when rolling through. The horse farms create a serenity not just for us to see, but provide a training area for one of our state’s greatest past times in the thoroughbred horse racing. The image allows an introspection specific to Oldham County residents but also gives visitors a nostalgia for the countryside.
For those of us growing up in OC, we appreciate the simplicity of a minimalist countryside. The backroads and country living created a raw beauty before the hustle and bustle of urban sprawl led to the OC of today. These scenes are represented here in this adaption of our landscape and the creation of a surreal scene in which our train maneuvers high over the land on a trestle made with arches and concrete.
This work of art is not necessarily of a particular horse farm or a trestle in our community, but was created to spark your imagination. Where is the train going? Where is it coming from? Does that farm look familiar? Does it remind you of home?
It is my wish that this work of art creates a beautiful scene, an interesting visual experience in an area where an uninteresting structure previously existed.
PRATHERdesign, Inc. and PRATHERdesign Studios is located in the Historical District of Downtown La Grange, Kentucky, on Main Street. Mike Prather, the Owner, is an Oldham County original, he was born and raised in Oldham County and he still lives within a mile from his childhood home today.
Mike graduated from Oldham County High School in 1981 and continued his education in Western Kentucky University where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Studio Art, Graphic Design, Photography in 1985.
Rocket Storage at 3100 Commerce opened in 2015 and is the first of three facilities the Company is developing in Oldham County. A second RV/Boat facility at 2105 Button Lane opened November 1st increasing their total number of spaces to nearly 300. A third storage facility is under construction at 2901 Interior Way across the street from the Commerce Parkway location. That facility will offer climate controlled and regular mini-warehouse units for storing household items, truck rental, and a retail stores specializing in moving supplies.