Local Artist Oscar Toloza Goes Big With Science Project Mural


Local artist Oscar Toloza was at the Science Project Brewing Company celebrating the opening of his art show in the Logansport High School art gallery when owner Tim Eaton approached him.

Eaton had been introduced to Toloza’s work by Michael Alvarez, the man who created the Science Project’s dough recipe.

When the Science Project opened, Eaton had commissioned a team of local artists to paint a mural on the front of the restaurant. Now he was ready for more art.

“Every time I went in there to hang out, he would ask when were we going to do it,” Toloza said.

It took four to five months before the collaboration finally began.

The wait was worth it. Toloza created a bright and beautiful outdoor mural that all of Logansport can enjoy.

Paint what you love

Toloza’s mural stretches across a 20-foot-wide storage container and is eight feet tall.

It pictures two young children, inspired by his niece and nephew, wrapped in swirls white clouds splotched with pink. A flower embraces a sleeping orange tiger. A yellow sun drifts lazily to the side.

“My favorite thing about art is when you see an art piece and the colors grab your attention and you want to go into the art and explore the scenery,” he said.

Getting the concept down was difficult. At first, he wanted to do something inspired by science to match the theme of the restaurant.

“Nothing was sticking for me so I decided to do my own thing,” he said.

He outlined his idea as a sketch and showed it to Eaton, who gave him the go ahead to start work.

“(Freedom) was one of my favorite things about (the project),” said Toloza. “I feel like when I have the most freedom, I have the most fun and when I have the most fun it just comes out better.”

To begin, Toloza had to power wash the container. He then used a grid system to upscale the sketch to fit across the surface of his metal canvas. Finally, it was time to open the spray paint canisters and start creating. The whole process took approximately 45 hours.

Toloza wants to create a universe with his art, using reoccurring characters and themes. It’s not uncommon in the art world. Jean Michel Basquiat used a crown as a symbol in many of his paintings. The photographer Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills” created a world of housewives and working women shot through a feminist lens.

When it comes to his favorite artist, James Jean, Toloza sees his artwork as building a singular world.

For Toloza, his nephew and niece are the starting point of his universe, two children who he said are a big part of his life.

“They always say paint what you love,” he said. “I wanted to put them into my artwork.”

Perched on the little girls’ head are two birds. It gives the appearance of horns. Toloza said he liked that people could look at the image and might mistake one for the other. Also, his niece is a little more mischievous than his nephew, he said.

The little girls’ hands are posed in prayer. Toloza said it was a prayer of thanksgiving for the sun that fuels everything with energy.

“Sometimes I think we forgot how much time we spend with nature,” he said.

Life-Sized Art

Toloza never really set out to become an artist. He was in his mid-20’s when he decided he need to find his path in life.

The pathway opened when he saw a picture of an artist painting a giant mural.

He had taken art classes in high school but never really took them seriously in terms of a possible career choice. He’s now been making art for four years. While he still feels like he is developing his style and the themes of his work, he does know he wants to go big with this art.

“Eventually I want to get to the point where I’m painting larger walls on a lift with spray paint,” he said.

He likes the idea that it takes his whole body to paint a mural, that the work is larger than himself and more impactful for the community.

Toloza has lived in Logansport all his life. He felt many people dismiss small towns but he said there is value in living in a small location. And if he can make it better with his art then he wants to put the effort into it.

Working on an outdoor mural gave Toloza the opportunity to understand and see how public art affects people. They stopped while walking past him and asked about the work he was painting.

“I could just see the affect it has on people and it’s a really good feeling,” he said. “It feels good that I can give back to my community in that kind of way and hopefully brighten people’s day. When you look at my art, I want you to feel good. And doing it here is very special to me.”

Eaton was happy with the finished product.

“It adds a great feel to the space out there,” he said. “With all the gravel that’s out there, it really needed some color and I’m really happy about it.”

Eaton wants to work with as many locals as he can while running Science Project Brewing Company.

“It’s important to support the community,” he said. “Success breeds success and if we want to attract more people to Logansport, we need to have more engaging (spaces). The more color, the more pleasing images people see as they drive through Logansport the more likely they are to come back or say ‘This is a good place to live.’”

The Science Project Brewing Company is located at 611 North Street. Oscar Toloza’s art can be viewed at oscartoloza art or on Instagram at @oscartolozaart.