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ichard Hubal leaves his art on public display everywhere he works. He has no easel or canvas and the pictures can't be seen in art galleries because he is a muralist. His latest mural work was commissioned by Linda and Willie Tennis of Tennis Sanitation, who bought what was once a gas station at Fourth Street and Broadway Avenue in St. Paul Park. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner

Mural artist's latest work on St. Paul Park building

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Richard Hubal leaves his art on public display everywhere he works. He has no easel or canvas and the pictures can't be seen in art galleries because he is a muralist.

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His latest mural work was commissioned by Linda and Willie Tennis of Tennis Sanitation, who bought what was once a gas station at Fourth Street and Broadway Avenue in St. Paul Park.

The building has been home to a number of businesses including a vintage gas station, the first SuperAmerica gas station, small engine repair shop and a store that sold comic books.

In recent years it's fallen into disrepair but there were two garage bays. Willie rented them for vehicle storage.

Linda, however, had another idea. It was obvious to her that the corner property was blighted and not likely to be rented by a business. "Why don't we buy it?" she asked Willie.

So they bought it without a clear plan, other than vehicle storage. Linda said they haven't exactly decided what the end game will be but the inside of the station is being remodeled and could be rented for office space.

The front of the building will look like a vintage gas station of the 1930s and '40s complete with old fashioned gas pumps, for looks, however, since the couple doesn't plan to sell gas.

Hubal's mural helps explain the renovations by depicting cars of several eras that could have stopped at the station. But there is more to it than that, Hubal said recently as he put the final touches on the 10-day project.

There's a historic collage depicted in addition to the Parker Hotel, a fixture on Broadway Avenue. There's also a train and a home being built indicating early signs of progress.

Hubal works at MK Salon in Cottage Grove, but spends most of his time on mural projects. The work recently included a trip to New Orleans to do research for an upcoming mural.

Hubal's advice to budding artists is to copy artists you admire. Hubal, whose father was a muralist, admires Paul Gaugain. In the process of copying you eventually find your own style. "You get better and better, with the help of God, too," he said.

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Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
(651) 459-7600
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