Making his mark: An artist working on mural in Halfway grew up in La Grande | New


HALFWAY – Jon Hanley is a temporary resident of Halfway, but he’s leaving a permanent mark.

Hanley is completing a mural at the Old Pine Market that describes the history of the Pine Valley horses.

“He’s doing a great job. I love coming and seeing the new progress, ”said Laurie Bryan, Market Owner.

Hanley paints after hours, adding a colorful touch to a previously blank wall above the production area.

“I had murals in my head,” Bryan said. “I knew Jon was a fabulous wall painter, and he came to town.”

His workspace is a challenge – a ledge about 3 feet deep and 3 feet high, so he has to kneel or lay on his side to paint.

“I take a lot of breaks,” Hanley said.

Hanley drew 10 different scenes that incorporate the local landscape and various uses of horses, from Native American transportation to logging, farming, mining, rodeo and more.

“We could have incorporated 40 other horse scenes,” he said.

The mural is approximately 9 meters long, with each era merging into the next.

“I wanted to do something that tells a story and how horses are an integral part of everyday life,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like this. Hope people like it as much as I liked doing it.

His second mural at the market will be in the entrance and will illustrate the appearance of the building and the city in 1906.

Hanley lives in Pocatello, Idaho, but grew up in La Grande.

It was there, at the age of 15, that he began his career as a political cartoonist. He first drew cartoons for the weekly Eastern Oregon Review, then drew for The Observer in high school, from 1976 to 1979.

“It was my foray into professional illustration,” he said.

He became a full-time designer while attending Portland Community College.

He has drawn caricatures of all of Nixon’s presidents up to now.

“It’s delicious,” Hanley said. “I am bipartisan in my cartoon. I won all of my cartoon awards with (Ronald) Reagan and (Mikhail) Gorbachev. “

During his time at university, he developed a certain approach to political cartoons.

“We were aware that editorial cartoons had an impact, made a difference. I’ve always done that, ”he says. “It has been a great career. I liked.

Besides cartoons, Hanley’s work includes murals and sets for live theater.

Another business is to create cartoon style city maps. So far he’s mapped 92 locations and this year he’s focusing on Halfway.

The map will cover approximately 30 miles from Hells Canyon to Sparta.

“It will integrate the history of the region and be filled with trivia,” he said.

The finished card will measure 11 inches by 7 inches and will be folded into the size of a brochure. While one side is a highly stylized representation of businesses and landmarks, the opposite side has a more traditional map of the area.

“It makes a memory for years to come,” Hanley said.

This is the first map project where he spent a lot of time in the area, which helped him collect his story.

“I have met all the elders – we can sit down and talk about history,” he said. “Pine Valley has been truly hospitable. Everyone has been so nice.

It was time to map Halfway, he said, as he has done similar projects in eastern Oregon before, including Baker City, La Grande, Joseph and Ontario, and Weiser, Idaho.

While he has planned a few return trips to Pocatello, he will be staying with his family in Halfway this summer until the map is complete. He also planned to paint a mural at La Grande.

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