Biloxi Visual Artist and Muralist Julia Reyes Creates Public Pieces with a Uniquely Fresh Perspective
Julie Reyes is a Mississippi public art anomaly — and in the best possible way.
The Biloxi visual artist and muralist has an enchanting kaleidoscope perspective and has created a myriad of public artworks all acrss the Magnolia State and beyond. She uses her mesmerizing motley trove to create something insightful and invigorating with a remarkable result.
“I feel like I always have a lot of different types of things going on at the same time and my art reflects that,” Reyes said.
Chances are you’ve come across one or two of the Gulf Coast mainstay’s incredible creations. As a 15-year professional artist, Reyes has dipped her fingers into just about every kind of public artwork project imaginable, including a wearable version of one of her paintings.
The Biloxi Shuckers annually partner with the American Cancer Society to host a “Shuck Cancer” fundraising event and Reyes designed a custom jersey for the occasion.
“It was interesting to see my painting translate into a wearable form and then see a bunch of people wearing it was exciting,” she said, adding another immense project was a crosswalk on Reynoir Street in Biloxi.
“The path to which you have grown accustomed will not necessarily be the same path you take tomorrow,” she said of the crosswalk. “And sometimes that path leads you to a crossroads right outside the literal place you were born, to paint it.”
And public art is her biggest passion with a lot of her creations illustrating outdoor scenarios. She finished a couple of extensive murals on the Lazy River at the Gulf Islands Waterpark just in time for its summer opening. The murals feature playful dolphins, exotic mermaids, colorful fish, immense alligators, and mischievous seagulls surrounded by crashing waves and beaming rays of sunshine.
“I like the environments that promote fun and playfulness and get people outdoors,” she said.
She has a special connection to projects that include hummingbirds. “Hummingbirds have always held a special place in my heart,” she said. “There have been numerous times in my life where an unlikely visit from a hummingbird served as a reminder to keep my head up just when I needed it. I’ve always associated them with my grandmother because she loved them and would spend a lot of time looking for them out of her kitchen window.”
She also just completed a mural at the new TrainTastic Interactive Model Railroad Museum that just opened in Gulfport. Reyes painted a train design with balloons, confetti, and a large sun to highlight one of the party rooms.
Reyes has been known to paint on anything and everything, including the hood of a BMW and the bridge of a boat, but one of her most exciting projects was a large-scale mural she painted in honor of Dolly Parton. The artwork is in the White Limozeen rooftop restaurant and bar at the Graduate Nashville hotel in the heart of Nashville. And although Reyes would have liked to have met the award-winning country artist icon, “I probably would have passed out if she had been there watching me paint,” she said.
Reyes found her passion for painting in her art classes at Biloxi High School and honed her craft at Mississippi State University. She recently spent time in Starkville at the MacGown Art Retreat and Studio painting and designing a mural.
Mississippi artist Joe MacGown has designed an enriching artist retreat and invites other Magnolia State artists to contribute their visions and help create an art sanctuary on his property.
“It was way different than the murals people on the Coast want,” she said. “And I haven’t been back there in a long time, so it was nice to spend some time in Starkville and it was an opportunity to leave a little mark on the town that helped shape me as an artist.”
Reyes can also be contracted for private commissions and is featured at The Caron Gallery in Tupelo and Laurel, which showcases about 50 Mississippi artists.