Mark Shipley completes mural depicting Payson’s past

r Mark Shipley completes mural depicting Payson’s past

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.

Mark Shipley signs the Mural at The Photo Shop in Payson. Photo by Ed Helmick

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.”

Chris Baird
Chris Baird
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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