Mark Ship­ley com­pletes painted mu­ral de­pict­ing Payson’s past

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Ed Helmick

Payson’s agri­cul­tural his­tory is now re­flected in a gi­ant mu­ral on the south wall of the Photo Shop at 99 E. Main. Mea­sur­ing 18 by 60 feet, the mu­ral is the sec­ond-largest ever painted by artist Mark Ship­ley. It is de­rived from a photo show­ing a lo­cal barn that is a fa­vorite of Photo Shop owner Steve Parsons.

Mu­ral pain­ter Mark Ship­ley was first rec­og­nized in the March is­sue of Serve Daily for his painting of the Golden Gate Bridge on the side of the Pier 49 Pizza Restau­rant build­ing in Springville. He painted that mu­ral to help his daugh­ter and son-in-law who own Pier 49. He has also re­ceived re­quests to do three more mu­rals in the Payson and Salem area.

Ship­ley is an amaz­ingly ac­tive 81-year- old who re­tired from the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia en­ter­tain­ment and live the­ater busi­ness a few years ago. He moved back to this area to be closer to his chil­dren. He is an ac­tive movie goer and an in­ter­est­ing per­son to talk to about the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. He par­tic­u­larly loves live the­ater. To Ship­ley, painting a mu­ral is just like painting a stage set, and he en­joys keep­ing busy for both his phys­i­cal and men­tal health.

A lot of peo­ple have stopped to chat with Ship­ley with words of praise and cu­rios­ity. A com­mon ques­tion is how long it took to cre­ate the mu­ral. Ship­ley is not a record keeper and usu­ally only works a cou­ple hours a day. This par­tic­u­lar project has had a lot of in­ter­rup­tions due to

the stormy weather of the past two weeks. Steve Parsons be­lieves Ship­ley has about 40 man hours in the project.

Another com­mon ques­tion is how much is he be­ing paid. His an­swer is that’s strictly be­tween him and his friend Steve Parsons. How­ever, Ship­ley’s usual come­back is “What would we have missed if Van Gough had re­fused to paint be­cause no one was buy­ing?”

Ship­ley openly dis­cusses his life-long bat­tle with de­pres­sion and how the arts are his way of es­cap­ing the dread­ful dis­ease. He sug­gests that “ev­ery­one ex­pe­ri­ence and search ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity un­til you find where you be­long and what is your pur­pose is for be­ing alive.” Each of us needs to find what makes life en­durable and ex­cit­ing, Ship­ley ad­vises. A few years ago, a friend of Ship­ley’s wrote a bi­og­ra­phy ti­tled “Mood Down, Cur­tain Up” that deals with Ship­ley’s strug­gle with de­pres­sion. He also en­joys giv­ing and be­ing of ser­vice to oth­ers where ever he can. A fa­vorite quote is a line from “Mame”: “Life is a ban­quet and most poor souls are starv­ing to death.”

Photo by Steve Parsons Pho­tog­ra­phy

Lo­cal artist Mark Ship­ley has panted this gi­ant mu­ral on the south wall of the Photo Shop at 99 E. Main in Payson.

Mark Ship­ley

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