In late August, Scott Takes, a local artist and owner of the Underground Art Studio, finished “Next Nature,” a dual mural that now adorns two sides of the Fix Salon building on the Kingston Village side of downtown Cedar Rapids.
This project was a joint effort between the owners of Fix Salon, Mr. Takes, and the Downtown SSMID/Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. Adding vibrancy to downtown by way of unique, eclectic public art is central to the mission of the Economic Alliance in providing community beautification and placemaking.
Mr. Takes said he discovered his love for creating original art as a teen. In high school, he took every available art class. The world-renowned street artist Seen was one of his early inspirations and during his formative years as an artist, he took to the method of airbrushing and honed his skills at Hawkeye Tech (now Hawkeye Community College). An opportunity early in his career led him to Dubuque and eventually to Chicago, where he garnered experience both designing and painting apparel. However, by the mid-1990’s he was ready to come back to his roots, where he founded the Underground Studio, now located in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Today, Mr. Takes specializes in customizing motorcycles and automobiles with his incredible artistry and imagination.
The term “Next Nature” is a philosophical concept that states that human cultural activity creates a new kind of nature distinct from ‘old’ nature. Mr. Takes said his favorite part of this project was the abundance of positivity his work seemed to generate, as several people came up and took pictures and commented positively on the work from start to finish.
The solar system reflected in the final product is meant to signify the bigger picture of nature, while Lucille Ball is seen as an iconic female who was a pioneer and a powerful force for women using humor and gravitas.
Mr. Takes also noted how it was special for him to feature Lucille Ball in “Next Nature,” as her show was one of his favorites to watch with his mother.
This project was originally planned to start in October 2021, but was delayed due to the sudden passing of Mr. Takes’ mother.
“Next Nature” is the third mural being added in downtown Cedar Rapids in recent months, joining the “Choose Kindness” mural in the MedQuarter district and the RAGBRAI mural now being installed on the side of the Hall Bicycle Company.