By Matt de Simone
LOVEworks in Fincastle, and the proof can now be found painted beautifully along the side of the AvenueBlack boutique on S. Roanoke Street in Fincastle. The sign in Fincastle adds to other LOVEworks signs in Botetourt County, joining Buchanan and Troutville in spreading the love.
Boutique owner Ranelle Simmons developed the idea and then worked with Fincastle’s town to bring a local Virginia LOVEworks sign.
“Everybody loves the LOVE murals and signs,” Simmons said. “People go all over the state to get their picture taken with [the signs]. I thought, ‘I have the perfect space for it.'”
Simmons is understanding of the history of Fincastle. She wanted the mural to also pay homage to the Lewis & Clark Legacy Trail and the town’s history, along with the “LOVE” for Virginia and the town. After a visit, she was first inspired by the artwork and vibe of Nashville, Tenn., which also partly inspired her to open the boutique.
Simmons reached out to the Virginia Tourism Corporation, which supported her idea. She then spoke with Leo & Laine, who Simmons commissioned to produce AvenueBlack’s branding. Leo & Laine suggested artist, graphic designer, and illustrator Alexia Barreiro handle the mural’s design for the town.
Barreiro flew in from Denver, Col. last week to paint the mural, which features the “LOVE” sign in bold lettering, an outline of the state, the profile of Lewis & Clark leading onlookers to a dotted trail in and around an homage to the town’s “skyline,” and a recreation of a stamp from 1933.
“The design was very clean, tasteful… nothing too wild or too detailed,” Barreiro said of the mural. “I pulled the stamp from some of Fincastle’s archives. I did some digging before I came up with the mockup design. The stamp added the right texture, and it looks really nice with the colors and bricks of the building.”
Barreiro is a New York native that moved to Michigan as a child. She graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University in Grand Rapids. Right out of college, Barreiro moved to Denver and became an art director for a clothing company. She then started her own business, Alexia Barreiro Custom Designs (ABCD), where she now produces graphic design, fine art, and illustrations.
Leo & Laine is based out of Michigan. Barreiro’s connections where she grew up led Leo & Laine to contact her about designing Fincastle’s LOVEworks mural.
Simmons wanted to not only add another LOVE sign in Virginia but also wanted to highlight the town’s history, especially as the town celebrates its 250th anniversary this Saturday at the Fincastle Festival. The timing of the mural’s competition could not have come at a better time for the town.
“My whole idea was to add a key piece that brings people out [to Fincastle].” Simmons continued. “The café, the shop, and the museum are great, but there’s got to be something else, especially for the younger generation, that makes Fincastle unique and a destination you must go to. I feel like [the younger] generation fears missing out, so, ‘if you don’t get your picture taken in front of the LOVE sign in Fincastle, you’re not cool,’ right?”
The sign is on the left side of AvenueBlack, at 22 S. Roanoke Street in Fincastle. For inquiries about artist Alexia Barreio’s company, ABCD, please visit alexiabarreiro.com.