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Mark Pendergrass is becoming familiar with downtown Valley Center. DZ Auto is the second business mural Pendergrass was commissioned to complete.

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By Taylor Messick
Last Updated: August 15, 2018

Artist completes mural at DZ Auto

Mark Pendergrass is making his mark on downtown Valley Center.

First, there was a mural at PawPrints Pet Supply in the 100 block of North Ash.

Now, Pendergrass put the finishing touches this week on a larger-than-life mural on the front of DZ Automotive at 142 S. Meridian.

"I think it turned out all right," said Diane Miller, who owns the business with her husband, Zane. "… There's no place on this lot for signage, and that gives us a building-front sign."

The mural includes a red Camaro, a toolbox, tire, checkered flag and blue and red stripes.

Pendergrass' original design had a filling-station theme, but DZ Auto is a full-service repair shop, not a gas station. The car was originally an Audi. That, too, was changed.

Pendergrass, who is from Wichita, has painted more than 200 murals in the area. He has been hired to work on libraries, churches, schools, private businesses, houses and more.

"I'm basically a self-taught artist," said Pendergrass. "As a child, I was always drawing; I had a real affinity for it. I continued to work on it and became interested in other types of art. I got really into music and got away from graphic arts for a number of years, but it was always there. And then I started using it more and more and it became my main thing. It really flourished."

Pendergrass worked for graphics companies and started doing some freelance work. Then about 15 years ago a friend encouraged him to start doing murals. He said he was always intimidated by murals.

"It scared me," he said. "The thought of doing something that big, I just didn't know how you would start something like that. I didn't know how you would make something so big look right. Now, it's become kind of second nature to me."

Mark said he enjoys the variety of murals he is hired to paint, and he likes working on a large scale. He designs his ideas on the computer to show clients so they can agree on the final design he will replicate. He said being flexible and working with clients — not just for them — is very important.

"I'm not the kind of artist that says ‘my way or the highway,'" he said. "I do the job I have set before me. I'm not trying to be avant garde and hope that people understand it someday. I want the client to be happy and I want it to work for them. I want their church, business, home or wherever to be a better place for the work I've contributed."

Although Pendergrass has left a mark on the community, he is always looking to do more work. He said he has especially enjoyed doing work for children as of late. He has done work in several libraries and schools in the area.

"I get outside of Wichita and really work all over the area," he said. "Lately, I've done work in Newton and, obviously, Valley Center and I really enjoyed it. I like traveling and meeting new people, and I'd really love to do more around here. I'd love to continue working with school districts, as well. I've really enjoyed the opportunities I've been given and I hope to continue to grow."

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