NORTH HAVEN — Ryan “ARCY” Christenson has traveled the world doing his art, but for the past two weeks he’s been close to home creating permanent murals at the Big E in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The New England fair commissioned ARCY to paint 12 panels on the front of the fair’s Horse Coliseum, each depicting parts of the Big E’s history in his pop-art spray paint style.
“I really tried to capture all of the different aspects of the Big E,” he said.
ARCY has spent about eight hours every day for the past 15 days painting the pieces he spent hours designing in the weeks beforehand.
The panels depict the old fair race tracks, hockey, Roy Rogers, and Mr. BiggiE, the fair’s mascot. There are also agricultural and family scenes.
“People were coming up nonstop, all day long, just in awe – genuinely appreciative that I was breathing new life into the horse coliseum,” he said.
The fonts and images in the murals are almost all taken from old advertisements or other historical content.
“I’ll take that imagery, that historical content and really bring it into new light, put a contemporary spin on it,” ARCY said. “Putting that paint splash and splatter and drips and vibrant colors, really allows people to kind of take it all in in a different way.”
ARCY, a Wallingford native, is a full-time street artist who travels the world creating percent spray paint art. He spends most of the year traveling to fairs across the country, doing live mural demonstrations or creating permanent murals. The North Haven resident is also a Disney artist.
Growing up ARCY considered the Big E his hometown fair.
“I definitely have a connection with the Big E because I would go there every year as a child … It's cool to be able to kind of work with these iconic places that tie into my memories,” ARCY said.
ARCY’s work includes small Mickey Mouse-shaped silhouettes, a tradition he started years ago to help stay connected to his two young sons while on the road.
ARCY has previously done live demonstrations at Lincoln Middle School in Meriden, the Daffodil Festival in Meriden, and along the Southington Linear Trail.