A vivid 20-foot long mural recently replaced an outdated banner between Centro Woodfired Pizza and the Pastry Pub on Center Street in Cedar City. Southern Utah University graphic design student Rian Kasner is responsible for the newest public art addition to Historic Downtown.
Kasner designed, sketched and painted the massive piece in just one week, combating freezing 30-degree temperatures and snow and working into the night. The mural features several bold straight lines that were painted by hand without tape.
The mural is one of several recently commissioned and added to the walls of Cedar City, gradually transforming Historic Downtown.
Despite their ever-growing gallery, website and following, Kasner has a special connection to the Cedar City mural.
“That mural has a special place in my heart simply because I really have created myself in Cedar City and developed who I am and who I want to be [here],” Kasner said. “So the fact that I got to paint the mural of Cedar City, the one that I think is gonna represent our town, is such an honor because this is the town that I found myself in. This is where I became Rian Kasner.”
A natural at math, the Washington state native started their career at SUU studying engineering and playing soccer as a recruit. They switched to their current major after one semester to follow their dream of being an artist.
Kasner’s journey to becoming a muralist began when the weight training coach heard of their graphic design abilities and asked them to design a mural for the athletic weight room. Kasner volunteered to paint the mural as well, despite never having painted something that large before.
“That was the first time I’d ever painted a mural…and I fell in love with it,” Kasner said.
Now with 10 murals under their belt painted all over the country, word about Kasner’s talent is spreading, bringing in almost more clients than they can keep up with.
“It’s really exciting,” Kasner said. “Being a muralist is one of those things where people are always telling you to find work that doesn’t feel like work and I think I’ve found that. Most murals take an average of 60-70 hours or more and I just don’t get bored of it at all.”
Some of those murals can be seen around and under Cedar City, including the signage on the side of Bristlecone and a large-scale painting in the sheep tunnels under the town.
What started as a side passion project has become Kasner’s “plan A” for their career. The SUU senior has aspirations to be a traveling muralist after apprenticeship in New York.
“It’s significant to me that I have at the age of 21 found what I love so much and can actually make a career out of it,” Kasner said. “I’m so appreciative of my weight training coach because he allowed me that flexibility to try something new and now it’s my career path.”
Story By: Larissa Beatty
photos courtesy of Rian Kasner