Worldwide acclaimed Irish artist and leading figurative painter Graham Knuttel met with his new collaborators, 13 handpicked promising art students from the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts (LVA), to brainstorm and outline plans for two huge art panel murals for the east facing wall on the Las Vegas Boulevard-side of Neonopolis located downtown.
The highly visible murals will be 9’ x 27’ and mounted close to the top of the building. Knuttel pointed out that Las Vegans will see the work all the time and tourists once or twice so it should be relevant to Las Vegas and encompass connectivity with the environment. Together Knuttel and the students settled on a “mobsters” theme as a starting point.
Las Vegas Academy of the Arts department chair Kelly Mabel said they will take the Las Vegas’ past history encompassing landscape, architecture and a possible showgirl and move up to what is relevant in the students’ culture today.
“I thought he would take more control,” said one student who was sketching away as the group shared ideas, “And he’s letting us have our ideas.” While some of the students have worked together before this is the first time the whole group has been assembled. The challenge will be transferring and combining their different art techniques and developing their artistic vision together. While the students will be influenced by Knuttel and his famous art style, it will be the students generating the drawings.
The students are participating in the creation of the mural from the creative process through the painting and installation, which is yet to be determined but could be as soon as this April
Knuttel is new to the Las Vegas scene, having recently opened a gallery exclusively featuring his work at the Venetian-Palazzo Resort. Knuttel’s paintings and sculptures have been acquired by an array of celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, Colin Firth and Michael Stipe. Director John Herzfeld commissioned Knuttel to paint Robert De Niro.
The Las Vegas Academy (LVA) is a nationally recognized, award-winning magnet high school, dedicated to education in performing and visual arts and serving approximately 1,700 students in Clark County, Nev. The Academy is a public school located in the center of the Las Vegas Historical District and serves students in grades 9 through 12.