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Tugboat Frawg’s Fleetcare at Paint Louis 2023

Tugboat Frawg’s Fleetcare was a mural concept I worked on for months leading up to Paint Louis 2023. This piece features a tugboat frog character, based on the Missouri-native northern crawfish frog, on a dry dock busted through the Mississippi River flood wall doing some repairs for the two-spotted bumble bee waving from the bow.

The concept was inspired by my pup’s lifelong career as a tugboat maintenance engineer, but especially those paying homage to those times when we were living in New Orleans. As a baby and young child, I spent time around shipyards and on tugboats in the Mississippi River, eating mustard greens picked from the levees, and attending cookouts in lots paved with oyster shells. When I got invited to this graffiti festival, I felt others living off the river may resonate with that experience.

My tug concept was a mash-up, striking a middle ground between the boats my dad worked on when I was little and the cartoonish abstraction of the steamboat from Disney’s early Steamboat Willie animation.

While I was there, I modified the concept to work alignment with a tree behind the wall. I was overjoyed the first time I went up in the lift and saw the Cahokia Power Plant, which was part of my original concept, was right across the river from my wall! I also decorated the wall area surrounding the mural with my FTK krewmates’ tags.

This 320sqft mural was completed entirely in Loop Colors aerosol paints over the three days of the annual Paint Louis graffiti festival. I used an all-terrain scissor lift equipped with outriggers, due to the uneven gravel under the wall space.

Thank you to Kiki Salem for capturing these close up photos of my piece!

Visit the Tugboat Frawg’s Fleetcare in St. Louis

Sam on the TooT3rpd Podcast Ep. 139 from Paint Louis

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took part in funding this initiative!!

This was my first time attempting to crowdfund a mural and fortunately was successful in doing so. This enabled me to have my first experience renting a lift, my first time painting a large-scale mural out-of-state, and my first experience coordinating a job I was flying in for and limited what I could bring along with me. This was invaluable step toward my continued advancement in this career field and I am beyond grateful for those of you who were able and willing to help.

This entire piece would not have been possible without support from the following contributors, who I am forever fortunate to call my family, friends, and community:

  • Betty & Paul Soper
  • Joel Burgess
  • Jesseca Soper
  • Anat Ronen
  • Adam Winegar & Claire Linden
  • Bradley Bernhard
  • Amelia Zique
  • Laced & Found
  • Sarah Wieppert
  • Kristin Hillery
  • Richard Rees
  • Patrick Adams
  • Anias Jaquez
  • Paige Bristol
  • Briana Mahanay
  • Victoria Valadez
  • Olwyn Moxhay
  • Lisa Zoellner
  • Reverend Moon
  • Jessica Lin
  • Julie Ramirez
  • Taryn Nash
  • Lani Smarrelli
  • Wendy Toxena
  • Mateo Garcia
  • Greta Bryant
  • Allison Minter
  • Mique Michelle
  • Nancy Ramos
  • Christina Barboza
  • Marcie Dodd
  • Denise Dennis

And thanks my Patreon supporters for their continued contributions to my art efforts:

  • Jesseca Soper
  • Bradley Bernhard
  • Joel Burgess
  • Kati Fawcett
  • Elle Alexander
  • Ashley Connors
  • Meghan See
  • Laurie Estonia Trindle

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