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Hearts and craft — new murals come from artist’s Puerto Rican soul

The Brooklyn Paper
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Mexico City may have Diego Rivera, but Wallabout has Puerto Rican folk muralist Evelyn Talarico.

The 64-year-old artist’s works are transforming walls in the neighborhood into a panorama of tropical waterfalls, Caribbean sunsets, foliage and signature palm trees — all painted from her childhood memories of Puerto Rico.

“Evelyn has turned a nondescript thoroughfare near the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway and the Navy Yard into a unique and visually pleasing neighborhood attraction,” said L.B. Brown, the owner of Simply Art & Framing Gallery, who will lead tours of Talarico’s work every Sunday in June.

Brown said the country scenes is also a stark contrast to the other murals in the neighborhood, which are characterized by a grittier urban feel — which makes sense, given that Talarico said she is inspired by her childhood.

“Puerto Rican people keep thanking me because my work reminds them of Puerto Rico and religious people bless me because they say I am painting a new world where everything is calm,” said Talarico.

When she first started painting, Talarico only worked on canvases, but always desired to do larger work — and her big break came when a health-care clinic commissioned her to do something bright for the children.

That 2008 mural drew the notice of other merchants and building owners who commissioned more work — usually for the cost of paint. Talarico is currently working on her ninth mural in an area bordered by Carlton, Vanderbilt, Myrtle and Flushing avenues.

She doesn’t know what it will look like yet.

“I try to do a little a story, but when I start on a wall I have now idea what will come until I start painting grass and trees and water,” she said.

The Mural Walk begins in front of Smiling Faces Daycare [381 Myrtle Ave. at Clermont Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 857-0074], Sundays in June at 2 pm. Free.

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