By MIRANDA ZUGG - MasterLube
Ask Colton Torgrimson what the artwork behind his mural for Billings Senior High means and he’ll tell you “a dream come true!”
“I have wanted to do this since I found out about it my freshman year,” the 19-year-old Torgrimson explains. “It represents a possibility to create something that will immortalize who I was or, if nothing else, that I existed.”
Mr. Torgrimson was chosen to paint the mural as part of the War of the Walls mural competition – an annual event that commissions a student artist from each Billings and Laurel high school to paint on the wall of each MasterLube location.
Torgrimson, son of Chad and Shaelyn Torgrimson, found the large scale painting difficult to keep in perspective, but he enjoyed experimenting with techniques to paint the unique project.
The idea for the main theme of the painting, the bronc head and smoke, came immediately. But after showing the initial sketch to friends, they gave him the idea to make the smoke portion of the painting into the “2012” text.
“Then I thought of making the horse into a more tribal like form,” he explained. He also credits his friend Molly McIntosh for her help painting the oversized canvas.
Family members and friends have played a supportive role with Torgrimson’s artwork. “My mother and grandfather strongly help me to continue [my artwork].” His grandfather, an artist in his own right as a photographer, sculpture and painter, also introduced him to several styles of artwork.
With his grandpa’s help, Torgrimson participated in “Chalk Up Helena,” an annual sidewalk chalk-painting competition where he placed first among the judges one year and won People’s Choice the following year.
Torgrimson hopes to be able to continue his artwork after high school and throughout his life. He plans to enlist in the Air Force and become a career serviceman as a aircraft materialist.
He would like to stay in the service long enough to retire and then work on his art full time.
“There will be no worries of becoming a “starving artist,”” he says.
Torgrimson loves seeing different outdoor environments and the fun they offer. “I’m willing to try any and all outdoor sports,” he said. He also works at Harbor Freight Tools and enjoys longboarding and snowboarding.
The Billings Senior High mural can be viewed at 1628 Grand Ave. A mural representing each area high school is painted on every MasterLube location. The public can also go online to vote for their favorite mural through May 17 on MasterLube’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/masterlube. The winner will be announced the following day and given a traveling trophy.
The painting contest is held in conjunction with the annual “Grad Day” fund-raiser for area high schools’ all-night, drug and alcohol-free graduation celebrations. Volunteers will be raising funds at all MasterLube locations on May 19. All money spent for oil changes on that day will go directly to the graduation parties. Students also hold car washes, barbecues and take roadside donations during the event.