By Lila Gutner
Editor’s note: The Bangor Daily News has partnered with the Telling Room to showcase budding young journalists as they turn a critical eye toward the world in which we live. Read more about the project, and the rest of the students’ pieces, here.
Portland native Ryan Adams, a painter and muralist with a love for letters, made his way up to Milo, Maine, to muralize a 100-year-old train car on the property of Bissell Bros. Brewing Co. Ryan arrived on a Monday morning to check out what he was working with before he started painting. “I wanted to be in the space and feel it out,” he told me.
The next day, it was time to paint. Ryan spray painted the interior following a theme of seasons — each wall symbolizes a different season. He uses warm colors like deep reds and oranges to make the fall and summer scenes come to life. The bright greens and pinks, lavenders — I could almost smell the blossoming flowers. He also used shades of polar white, and snowflake blues to make it feel like a winter wonderland. He created all the geometric lines and shapes freehand, using no tape or rulers. When I spoke to him, Ryan mentioned this quote by Stephen Powers, a New York sign muralist that inspired him to do his work: “Perfection is standard, mistakes cost extra.”
Ryan worked diligently for two 10-hour days along with his coworker Will Sears to finish his train car — 60 to 70 paint cans later, the project was complete. As planned, the final product allows spectators to experience all four seasons in one location through colorful, geometric designs. There are plans, after the pandemic, to turn the car into more tables and seating for Bissell Brothers customers.
Ryan is married and has two girls named Norah and Zoe. His wife, Rachel Gloria, is also an artist who owns a wallpaper company called Tachee. He lives in Portland, Maine, where he was born and raised with his family. Ryan also creates artwork by making Illusions with letters, which looks very interesting and unique.
These days, getting away is hard, but step into Ryan’s unnamed train car and you have entered another world.