Local artist evokes Sun Devil pride for football game days

Lisa Bernal Brethour celebrates the ASU community through detailed murals for "Devils on College"

Every home football game, College Avenue is the home of unique, colorful new street artwork: intricate murals featuring elements of ASU football and school pride decorate the sidewalks just north of College Avenue Commons. 

Lisa Bernal Brethour is an artist who teaches at the Scottsdale Artists' School during the week, but on the weekend she puts her skills on display in large pastel murals for the Devils on College pregame event.

Brethour said her murals require her to arrive at 8:30 a.m., each game day, and they can take as long as 8 hours to complete.

"The process starts with a picture that ASU gives me, and then I lay it out on a grid on paper," Brethour said. "When I go to transfer it onto the street, I lightly draw a grid on the pavement so I can focus on one part of the mural at a time."

She said she begins with an outline of the image, typically using small dots to make a quick and precise shape.

"These techniques, both the grid and the dotted outline, are both common techniques in the art community," Brethour said. "Even Leonardo Da Vinci used them."

The murals are specific to each game. Brethour said she likes to play to the competitiveness of rivalries through her artwork

"For the game against USC last season, we actually did two different murals," she said. "We had two different helmets facing each other. The first one was ASU, and it had the pitchfork emblem on the side. The second was USC, and it had a trojan emblem on the side."

For larger scale projects, Brethour brings in extra hands to help her get the job done. Her husband, Rich, and her daughter, Izzy, are often there to help her out.

When Brethour is not available one weekend, she reaches out to other community members to ensure the ASU spirit is still out on the streets.

"When there is more than one mural or I need help completing a mural, I do have two other artist friends that I can ask for help," Brethour said. "Like in two weeks when I'll be at a chalk festival, I have another artist filling in for me."

Although Brethour spends most of her time teaching, she said she does enjoy being a part of ASU football tradition.

"It's great being out here in the ASU community, because people will come up to me all day while I'm working and ask me about it," she said. "It gets people excited, and that's what game days are all about."

ASU alumni Luke Driesenga said that the murals show how strong of a community ASU has.

"Anyone who comes to the games, whether it's students or even anyone from a visiting school, they'll see it and say 'Oh, this school really has a lot of spirit'," Driesenga said. "It shows that we are a supportive community for our team."

Driesenga is not alone in feeling a sense of camaraderie from these murals. 

Tourism senior Amairani Guerrero said that the murals make her proud to be a Sun Devil.

"I see how much talent it takes to create something that detailed, and it really makes me see how much talent is present at this school," Guerrero said. "I think that's something that everyone can see when they go to Devils on College...whether on or off the field, the ASU community is undeniably gifted."

Brethour's next mural will be up on Oct. 8 when the Sun Devils take on UCLA . 


Reach the reporter at hkbrand@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @hayieysays

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