Renowned Artist and Illustrator Lisa Congdon to Create Easton’s Newest Mural
Starting next week, visitors to Easton can watch world-famous artist Lisa Congdon as she outlines, sketches and paints Easton’s newest mural.
It will be the fourth mural for Congdon and mark the eighth mural for the Easton Murals project. Easton Murals is a collaboration between the nonprofit Greater Easton Development Partnership and Brick + Mortar Gallery.
The vibrant, colorful mural “We Gon Be Alright: A Tribute to Adé Hogue” will take shape on the Church Street side of the Easton Public Market, another GEDP program. Congdon will start on the mural on May 26 and work through the week, weather permitting. Congdon, an avid cyclist, is excited that her work will precede the Easton Twilight Criterium bike race, which will bring some of the world’s fastest cyclists to Downtown Easton.
“I love bikes and I love art – this just seemed like the perfect project,” says Congdon.
The internationally-known artist and illustrator’s work has been featured by Target, Amazon, Google, Warby Parker, Method, REI and MoMA. Congdon says she’s inspired by mid-century design and folk art, and loves to infuse her work with color, shapes, symbols and uplifting messages. When Congdon shared her mural design for Easton on Instagram a few weeks ago, close to 6,000 followers liked the image.
Congdon will also be a special guest at Story & a Snack on May 26 at the Easton Public Market. Congdon will read “Round,” a book she illustrated, and talk about her mural (10-10:30 a.m. May 26, Easton Public Market Kids’ Zone, free).
Art is a second career for Congdon, who began working as an elementary school teacher in San Francisco. She felt a lot of creativity was missing from her life and began taking art classes. Though she never went to art school, she began sharing her designs on a blog in 2004 and opened an Etsy shop in 2007. By 2011 she was able to transition to being a full-time artist, and today makes her living creating illustrations, books and murals.
Before the pandemic, Bill Strickland, cyclist-in-chief for Bicycling Magazine and a GEDP board member, reached out to Congdon to see if she’d be interested in designing a mural for Easton. The plan was for Congdon and fellow artist Adé Hogue to each create separate but connected murals in Easton. Tragically a week after the two artists discussed the project with GEDP, Adé Hogue was killed in a bicycling accident.
“Bicycling and art are powerful connectors between people, and expressions of life, exuberance, and freedom — qualities Adé also epitomized,” Strickland says. “Having Lisa’s mural in what will be one of the best public spaces in Easton will be a wonderful reminder to all of us to cherish life and each other.”
Congdon’s mural not only features the vivid colors and symbols she’s known for but also honors her friend Adé.
“This mural includes a phrase he was famous for saying and his lettering, embellished with my illustration and colors,” Congdon says. “He, like me, liked to put positive messages out into the world.”
“It seemed an appropriate phrase for everything we’ve been through the last few years,” Congdon says of the words ‘We Gon Be Alright’ that figure prominently in the mural. Congdon got permission from Adé’s agent to use his lettering in the mural.
Congdon also wanted the mural to have a narrative and to tell Adé’s story. The eye, the hand and the pencil in the design symbolize the life of an artist, and the scissors reference the collages he liked to create. A bird flying over a bicycle “feels like him,” Congdon adds.
Congdon says it’s her first visit to Easton, and she’s excited to explore and ride her way through the city when she’s not painting.
The mural is the first in a series of planned additions to the Church Street side of Easton Public Market. Once the Fourth Street garage is complete, GEDP and the City of Easton will renovate the outdoor space between the garage and market to create a plaza. GEDP Executive Director Jared Mast says plans are to add shade structures and outdoor furnishings, thanks to funding from a Keystone Communities grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.