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Ollie Gator’s debuts Mardi Gras-themed mural

Alysia Mackenzie's painting reflects the pub's Louisiana-influenced menu

Local artist Alysia Mackenzie’s mural for Ollie Gator’s Pub reflects management’s longtime respect for the artist.

Local artist Alysia Mackenzie has completed a mural for Ollie Gator’s Pub in Berlin to complement the eatery’s annual Mardi Gras party and Louisiana kitchen cuisine.

Mackenzie’s painting reflects the restaurant’s style and got the green light from management. General Manager Ron Trewern spoke highly of Mackenzie’s skills, noting that her art work is something Ollie Gator’s has long respected.

“Alysia is friends with a lot of people here and we trusted her completely,” he said. “We let her creativity take over.”

Mackenzie completed the mural in about three days.

“I had a lot of help from management,” she noted. “They kind of closed the doors off to help me work, even though the (pub) stayed open the whole time.”

Mackenzie is an Eastern Regional High School graduate, born and raised in Berlin, who attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia on a presidential scholarship. During her time there, one of Mackenzie’s illustration pieces, “Eyebrow Problem,” was exhibited at the Society of Illustrators Student Competition in New York City.

“I absolutely love with a passion painting in general, painting large-scale projects,” she said. “Honestly, every new one means as much as the last to me. Last year, I worked on my largest project to date in Wynnecote, PA. It was on a 3,000-square-foot wall …”

Mackenzie’s work has been featured from coast to coast. She has painted for projects in Delaware; Washington D.C.; Maryland; Los Angeles; and Ohio, and her work was displayed at the Museum of Illusions in Philadelphia.

A personal favorite work of her own is a mural painted at Positano Coast Italian restaurant in Olde City, Philadelphia.

“It was super detailed and specifically challenging, because seafood itself isn’t always aesthetically pleasing,” the artist explained. “And I think it turned out really well. I know the manager there … I used a lot of their creative patterns from decorations inside and incorporated it with the seafood.”

Alysia Mackenzie painted a mural for the Unforgettable Haven charity organization in Gloucester Township this summer.

Ollie Gator’s had some specifics for its mural, Mackenzie recalled, but otherwise gave her artistic freedom.

“They wanted it to be New Orleans- themed and to be 3-D,” she related. “I kind of took it in more of a Mardi Gras direction rather than just simply New Orleans. It seemed fitting for the location.

“They told me ‘We trust you, just run with it,’ which is always fantastic, because you can really have a lot of fun coming up with something.”

Mackenzie said she was grateful for a private section at the pub to complete her work, given that the nature of her work is often in public spaces. Among skills for mural and public painting is navigating crowds.

“I don’t often get that (private) luxury,” she explained of the space. “A lot of the time people are asking questions and (around) while I am (working). I’m always very grateful for people that come up to me in public. They’re always gracious and complimentary.”

To stay up to date with Arts by Alysia, follow her Facebook and Instagram pages. For more pictures of recent artwork, visit https://www.artbyalysia.com/#/

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