Moorestown High School (MHS) alumnus Ryan Casinelli created a mural for First Baptist Church’s community garden, artwork that he hopes will bring people nothing more than pure enjoyment.
“I don’t want them (people) to look too deep into it,” Casinelli said. “I just want them to look at it as if they’re looking at a beautiful landscape or something … It’s in such a beautiful part of the town, and I know it’s going to be here for a really long time.”
Casinelli was approached two years ago by Norma Wright, co-chair of the church’s garden committee, to create the mural, and he finished it this summer. Before painting, the artist had to sand a wall down, power wash it, prime it and paint it again.
“I’d say the process was definitely a tedious one, but the end result was very satisfying, and it was very worth it,” Casinelli noted.
The mural includes flowers, bees, and a quote from Dante Alighieri that reads, “Nature is the art of God.” Casinelli painted the quote on the upper right side of the wall so that those who come to the church garden can see it from every angle.
“It’s a beautiful quote,” Casinelli observed. “I feel like it really kind of adds to what I’ve been saying this whole time about how art is part of nature.”
Back in 2021, Casinelli and MHS alumni Sean Allen and Wasiu Ojuolape Jr. created the Bianca Nikol Roberson Memorial Foundation mural – located on Locust and 52nd streets in West Philadelphia – to honor the late victim of a 2017 road rage murder in Pennsylvania.
Allen – whom Casinelli looks up to – advised the latter on how to approach the garden’s mural.
“Although I did learn a lot of things doing the mural itself, I’d say he definitely helped me beforehand to try to navigate the process,” Casinelli recalled.
The church will host the mural dedication on Saturday at 7 p.m.; rain date is Sunday. Wright looks forward to seeing people meet Casinelli, and she praised him as someone who’s not only artistically talented, but a person who’s kind, personable and respectful of the garden.
“We expressed what we wanted, he came up with the design, we liked it and he’s just been nothing but a pleasure to work with,” Wright said. “It (the garden) just brings a thrill to me.”
When Casinelli looks at the mural, he’s still surprised that he created it, given how plans changed.
“In the original drawing, all of the flowers were not that color, but I wanted to include colors that made it pop, and I felt like doing that with more of a happy palette rather than a cool palette kind of brought forth that feeling,” he pointed out.
“Right now, looking at it, I don’t think I could change anything.”
Casinelli is attending the Rhode Island School of Design in the fall but hopes to create more murals in Moorestown. His advice for other artists is to focus on creativity rather than technical work.
“It’s so easy to get discouraged as an artist,” he said, “because you’re constantly comparing yourself, and it’s the same with everything else. But keep doing what you’re doing and don’t give up.”
Casinelli’s art can be found at https://www.behance.net/ryancasinelli?locale=en_US.