Mural Artist Puts War Experience to Good Use

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Mural artist and Vietnam War Veteran completes scenic murals for the exhibits in the new National Museum of the Marine Corps.

At 23, Paul Barker commanded a platoon of Marines in Vietnam. In addition to the extreme impressions left by combat, he was entranced by the country's beauty. Three and a half decades later he found a surprising use for his experience. As a nationally recognized muralist, he was asked to bid on painting 10 huge scenic murals for the exhibits in the new National Museum of the Marine Corps. He saw the opportunity of a lifetime. Emphasizing his veteran status and lobbying hard, he and his mural art firm Googleplex, Inc. won the contract.

"The museum was being built outside the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia where I had my by basic training, so it was very nostalgic. While the base had changed, Marine Corps culture had not. Four of the 10 murals were on Vietnam so I was able to draw on my memories, on black and white photos I took during the war and color photos I took when I returned in '92 to build a small clinic with a veteran's group. Making sure the murals were historically accurate meant doing several months of research. I interviewed many surviving veterans of particular battles and found that being a vet myself opened a lot of doors. They were not only generous with their memories but with their personal photos and artifacts. Shortly after the museum opened in November of last year, I volunteered as a 'mural guide' for the veterans' groups coming through to see their moment of history preserved for posterity in an exhibit. It was a pretty moving experience."

Some of Barker's exhibits can be seen at the museum's website, http://www.usmcmuseum.org. "I've painted a lot of interesting images for a lot of famous clients," he says, "but that was my most gratifying experience so far."

About Googleplex, Inc.

Googleplex and its founder, artist Paul Barker, create astonishingly realistic scenic murals for zoos, aquariums, museums, restaurants and theme parks nationwide. Their backgrounds for zoo habitats are so photo-realistic that some animal inhabitants have tried walking into them or picking plants out of them. Two decades of producing mural art on a grand scale have made Googleplex one of the premier scenic art firms in the country; masters of the muralist's art. In zoo exhibits and museum dioramas, their perfect mimicry of the three dimensional elements adjacent to the murals such as trees and rocks, makes the transition from reality to painted illusion virtually undetectable. For more information, visit Googleplex' mural artist website.

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