The inside of Jon Curran’s garage is an ever-changing mural.
One week there’s a lion and a lioness and their cub that Curran spray-painted on one of the walls, not far from where he stashes his golf clubs. The soon-to-be father also did another painting of a chimpanzee and his chimp last fall.
Inside the house, though, the walls of the nursery, which has been readied for the arrival of Curran’s son next month, are a different challenge.
“I’ve got to hone my skills a bit more,” Curran says with a smile.
Curran actually is being modest. Not only is the humble Vanderbilt grad an accomplished golfer, he has definite cred as a street artist, too.
In fact, he was asked to do a mural for the arena where the Florida Panthers play hockey. A busy schedule prevented him from accepting the commission, though.A mural of Jon Curran's wife Valerie.
“All I do now is the inside of my garage,” Curran says. “I know that nobody can see it if it's bad. If it's good, I can look at it, take a picture of it. That's kind of where I draw the line.
“It's just basically for me to kill time. I just really enjoy it.”
Curran, who took several art classes in high school, has been drawn to this eclectic form of self-expression since he was in junior high school. He grew up in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where the Boston Marathon begins, and played on a state championship golf team with Keegan Bradley.
“It's an outer city just outside of the actual Boston proper,” Curran explains. “There's a lot of street art there and stuff like that, and I just kind of got attached to it.
“I actually go, in certain places, go try to seek some stuff out that I've heard of or that I know is there.”
During his travels, Curran has looked for murals by Banksy, the uber-secretive, yet well-known British street artist (or artists, since some believe there is a consortium of seven that creates the pieces). Banksy has created street art all over the world – from his native Bristol in England to New York City and San Francisco to Jerusalem and Timbuktu.
“I pay attention to it a lot,” Curran says. “I just know where certain things are. … He's got a piece in Utah that I've looked at. And he's got one in New Orleans. I heard people say it was there, (so I) took pictures in front of it.”
Curran says Miami, Nashville, Austin and Boise have a lot of popular places to look at street art and graffiti. More and more, cities are embracing the trend that has significantly evolved from what many once considered mere vandalism.
“Over the years have become more socially acceptable to have an area where there's street art, murals (and) there's restaurants and stuff there and shops, everything,” Curran says. “Just kind of like a happening spot in a lot of those places.
“So it’s very easy to look up.”
Not surprisingly, Curran picks New York City as the capital, of sorts, of American street art. He says Las Vegas is another place to find some interesting pieces.
“You can drive around there and there's a lot of really decent places that you wouldn't necessarily drive to,” he notes. “There's like some abandoned buildings, not the greatest areas, but you turn around the corner and there's this huge mural or something.
“It's really cool. I like when I find stuff like that. I will drive around every now and then and search for some art if I know the city has got something.”
Curran says he started spray-painting in his garage about four years ago. On the wall opposite his murals – which often feature floor-to-ceiling faces – he paints words and sayings that he finds inspirational.”
“I use double letters to make the words look more interesting,” he says.
Diaper duty might cut into the time he gets to spend painting those walls in his garage over the next few months. But Curran will always keep an eye out for another masterpiece on the streets.
“I think it's an incredible way of bringing life into a community,” he says.