While Stan Sherwood carries himself with a quiet and modest demeanor, his art is anything but.

The Mitchell artist’s latest work that can be seen on display along the brick wall of the 2nd and Lawler store stands out in downtown Mitchell and caught the attention of many community members and travelers passing through the area. The mural that’s on the wall of the downtown candy and toy store depicts a pair of eagle wings painted in bright red, white and blue.

“I use bold lines and colors, and the eagle wings mural has been a popular one to say the least,” Sherwood said of his creation. “I’ve done a lot of pieces for people at their homes, but this is the most public mural I’ve done. It’s really cool to see how much people have enjoyed it.”

The patriotic mural that was created roughly a month ago has drawn hundreds of people to the brick wall for photo opportunities and a chance to boost business, as well.

For Christie Gunkel, owner of 2nd and Lawler candy and toy store, Sherwood’s mural led a longtime friend into her store recently, helping her reconnect with a former classmate. She said Sherwood’s mural is a testament to how powerful artwork can be.

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“We’ve had some people take their senior pictures here, and I’ve reconnected with an old friend all because of the mural. This has been such a popular mural,” Gunkel said. “I’ve always loved Stan’s art, and he can create whatever it is I’m envisioning. He’s a very talented artist.”

Shown here is the Gunkel family, as Stan Sherwood stands on the far right of the wall mural he created along the wall of 2nd and Lawler Co. in downtown Mitchell. (Sam Fosness / Republic)
Shown here is the Gunkel family, as Stan Sherwood stands on the far right of the wall mural he created along the wall of 2nd and Lawler Co. in downtown Mitchell. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

Part of Gunkel’s idea behind the mural was to brighten up the downtown area and bring more color to the community. Little did she know that the idea would become such a hit. With the positive reception of the mural, Gunkel said she intends to make it an annual occurrence.

“With how popular this is, I think it shows people are looking for more art displays downtown,” she said. “It’s just brought a lot of life to the area.”

As a manager at Coborn's grocery store in Mitchell who is raising his children, Sherwood has plenty of responsibilities on his plate. But he still finds time to put his paintbrush to the canvas and walls.

The eagle wings wall piece took him less than 24 hours to create. While many artists who create larger murals on walls use stencils and trace some of the designs, Sherwood bucks that style by doing everything free-hand, meaning he puts his pens and paintbrushes to the surface and goes without having something to guide him.

In some ways, Sherwood said his style of painting reflects his personality.

“I am an impatient person, so I don’t get too intricate with the details. I want to just dive in and start drawing and painting and not think too much about the details,” he said of his art technique.

Shown here is the Gunkel family, as Stan Sherwood stands on the far right of the wall mural he created along the wall of 2nd and Lawler Co. in downtown Mitchell. (Sam Fosness / Republic)
Shown here is the Gunkel family, as Stan Sherwood stands on the far right of the wall mural he created along the wall of 2nd and Lawler Co. in downtown Mitchell. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

For Sherwood, his art has merely been a side hobby. But lately, his work has traveled far and wide, leading to more requests from people seeking to have him create murals along the walls of their homes and paintings on canvases.

The 40-year-old self-taught artist journeyed into art at a young age, dating back to elementary school. Although he learned how to draw and paint on his own, Sherwood credits his former art teachers at White River High School for inspiring him to continue developing his talents with the brush and pen.

Since residing in Mitchell, Sherwood's whimsical art has been speckled on the windows of former stores like Mr. Movies and Little Dukes convenience store.

“I’m never out looking for murals to paint because I don’t want to do it as a full-time job. But I have people reaching out to me more and more,” Sherwood said.

While he draws inspiration from legendary artists like the late Oscar Howe, who created many of the murals on the Corn Palace in his prime, and his former art teacher, John Leboeuf, Sherwood credits his family’s passion for art as a guiding force that helps him grow as an artist.

“I’ve had some amazing art teachers, but I’m really lucky to have a family that supported my passion for art,” he said. “

Sherwood’s passion for art has been passed on to his 7-year-old kid, who he said has a true “artistic talent.” As he mentors his son and inspires him to continue creating art, Sherwood said the Mitchell community will have another artist who can brighten the city up with his own style of murals.

“I’ve been mentoring him now, and we recently went out to Rapid City, where I helped him paint a Super Mario themed mural in Art Alley,” Sherwood said. “I love that my passion for art is staying strong in the family.”