Atop hat adorns the wild blond mane of a local rock god, depicted in a hyper-realistic mural on downtown Tulsa’s Grooper Building at Third Street and Frankfort Avenue. It’s as if the young Leon Russell painted there could emerge from a lush otherworld of roses.
With a self-described “graffiti/mural” style specializing in hyper-realism, artist Jeks, originally from Greensboro, N.C., is the global force that created this hidden gem. He has brought to life an abundance of public artworks across the United States, Canada and Colombia with commissions and independent projects.
Jeks’ repertoire spans from monochromatic portraits to full color, larger-than-life projects using smooth gradients and color saturation. Subject matter and muses to date include rappers the Notorious B.I.G., the duo Outkast, Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle, along with other well-known public figures including Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein, Janis Joplin and Marvel creator Stan Lee.
The Russell mural took three days to complete, according to Jeks, and was commissioned by Danny Rotelli, CEO of Oklahoma-based software company BIS.
“The inspiration for commissions usually comes from the direction the client provides, and then I run with it,” says Jeks. “With this piece, I chose to accent the floral aspect and a young Leon. All my work is freehand, so mapping it out is the most difficult and important process. The painting is the fun part.”