QUINCY — One day while walking around his store, Gamemasters co-owner Trevor Beck noticed the large white wall hovering over gun department and figured something needed to be done to cover that space.
“Just something different … outside the box-type thing … that would be kind of a neat draw for people,” Beck said.
Beck, part-owner of GameMasters since October 2021, knew just who to call. Ray Harvey had done work for Beck at one of his other properties.
“I called him up and told him kind of what I was after,” he said.
After a few sketches and a discussion with his staff, Beck commissioned Harvey, 64, who lives in New, Haven, Mo., for the work.
After getting a degree in graphic design, Harvey worked a number of jobs. One day, he went in to request vacation time from his boss. That moment sent him on the path he is on now.
Harvey’s boss said, “Look, just take your vacation now. The business isn’t doing well.”
“And boom, all of sudden, in five minutes, I was freelance,” Harvey said.
During the past 30 years, Harvey has painted more than 500 murals, mostly in Missouri. His art has covered a number of subjects — trains, automobiles, landscapes — but since the pandemic, there has been a shift in the requests.
“I have been doing a lot of patriotic the last few years, and it has just gotten to be a thing,” Harvey said. “Don’t ask me why, but it’s just taken off like a rocket.”
A perfect example is Concordia, Mo., just off I-70 between Columbia and Kansas City. Harvey completed a 100-foot by 24-foot mural of an American flag this spring. It was such a success that the city is planning on commissioning additional murals over the next five years.
“They’re going to brand the town to be Patriotic Mural City, USA,” Harvey said. “You’ll get off the highway, and you’ll see these big, beautiful murals. You know, that’s what I’ve been doing is hitting the small towns.”
“I did a lot work down in Cuba, Mo.,” he said. “I did a lot of murals down there. And a guy from Hannibal went down there on a float trip and saw the art. He called me up and he said, ‘I got three buildings and three murals.’ Well, fast forward to today. He’s one of my best friends, and I’ve done five or six murals for him.”
Harvey will finish his 22nd mural in Hannibal this summer.
“If you go to Hannibal, it’s Mark Twain and Ray Harvey. And I’m not boasting, it’s just the way it is,” he said.
However, Harvey said some people in Hannibal didn’t appreciate his work when it first started popping up.
“In Hannibal, there’s a historical district committee, and they are part of the downtown government. They are a legitimate group,” Harvey said. “For over a year and a half, they were trying to put the kibosh on all the murals in Hannibal, unbeknownst to anybody else in Hannibal. Their fear was that I’m completely changing the character of Hannibal.”
But that passed. Now he’ll be creating a sketch on his IPad and projecting onto a wall to start the process for his 22nd Hannibal mural.
“It’s taken me years to realize it’s only paint.” Harvey said. “And it’s taken me years to calm down and just not sweat it. I know what I’m doing. If I screw it up, big deal. I’ll fix it. I’m 64 years old, and you know, I’m in my prime.”
Harvey hopes to be announcing another project in Quincy soon, which will be his biggest one ever.
Beck is happy Harvey could fit Gamemasters into his schedule.
“You know, it’s just kind of a local touch … something that you probably wouldn’t see in a corporate store,” Beck said. “We’re proud to be a locally owned store, and we’re proud to be who we are and what we offer. We’re definitely, I guess, not to sound corny, but we’re proud to be Americans.”
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