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Artist living dream, painting murals on Ocean City building

(Dec. 13, 2013) A local artist is living out his dream this Christmas, creating a series of Michelangelo-inspired murals outside a Second Street building.

“This is definitely my favorite project because I get to do it for God,” muralist Todd Leasure said. “I just got to paint my dream paintings.”

Local artist Todd Leasure works through the rain to complete four Michelangelo-inspired murals on a Second Street building on Monday. His four murals will be up for Christmas and into the New Year on the building behind Ocean Gallery on the Boardwalk. (Clara Vaughn | Ocean City Today)

The murals are Leasure’s rendering of several works by one of his favorite artists, Michelangelo, including the Sistine Chapel’s “The Creation of Adam” and “The Last Judgment.”

Rendered in waterproof Rustoleum, they resemble stained glass adorning the building’s four large windows.

Building owner Orrozio Puglisis commissioned Leasure to do the paintings, along with renovating the interior of the space that will open as a seafood restaurant in April.

Leasure has had a hand in a number of projects around Ocean City, including a mural at Dumsers Dairyland on Caroline Street and a Venetian scene in Soprano’s Pizza. He has helped the Ocean City Development Corporation spruce up downtown by painting electric boxes and the skate park, and works on other projects including carpentry, roofing and flooring.

Most recently, Leasure created life-sized nativity sculptures that traveled in Ocean City’s Christmas parade.

“Whatever anyone wants, I do it,” he said of his works.

A local from Bishopville, Leasure grew up with an artist for a father. His formal training began at Stephen Decatur High School, where art teacher Barry Stebbing inspired and instructed him, he said.

Leasure continued his training in art at Catonsville Community College, traveled to Florida to learn air spraying and spent four years in the Gothic-art city of Brno in the Czech Republic, where he worked on frescos.

In all, he has painted about 150 murals for restaurants, businesses and private owners and sold around 100 oil paintings, he said.

“I dedicate it to God and to Jesus,” Leasure said of his artwork, though he wasn’t always as pious as he is now.

He grew up in a Christian home and has believed in God since childhood, but fully committed himself to the religion four years ago, he said.

Now, he said he works to portray the “master artist” in his pieces.

“My main goal in life is to try to tell people about Jesus through my artwork,” Leasure said.

He is almost done with his Second Street murals and plans to light them up at night.

The paintings will remain on display throughout the Christmas season and into the New Year, until the windows are scraped clean for the opening of the restaurant next spring. Visitors can also see Leasure’s rendering of the Puglisis family on the building’s ocean-facing façade.

Check out the murals on the building directly behind Ocean Gallery, on Second Street and the Boardwalk.

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