Local artist Peter Hrinko brings art to life with Springfield Heroes mural series

As a young child, local artist Peter Hrinko knew he had an interest and talent for the arts. Gifts around birthdays and holidays were easy: paper, pencils and crayons. By the time he was 11-years-old, Hrinko knew he wanted to pursue art as a career.

A graduate of the Dayton Art Institute, Hrinko has dabbled in it all, including glass blowing, photography, table-top and torch styles, but his favorite medium is paint.

“I Love the fluidity of paint,” Hrinko says. “Paint pulls towards me as a natural element. I can make it run or stay stagnant.”

As a native of Clark County, Hrinko has always pushed himself to do something great with his art and talent in his hometown: enter Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company in downtown Springfield.

“Mother Stewart’s is essentially a blank canvas for me,” says Hrinko, who designed the original logo for the brewing company.

Hrinko’s art is not only featured as the Mother Stewart’s logo, but with assistance from artist Shem Schutte, Hrinko’s art is visible to the community as an ongoing mural project at Mother Stewart’s, 102 West Columbia Street.

Hrinko’s mural project focuses on the Springfield Heroes Series.

“It plays upon the people who are born and raised in Springfield and did impactful things in media, marketing, and politics and more,” he says. “I honed-in on certain aspects of certain people who have had an impact and recognition, and also others who didn’t have the recognition.”

Hrinko’s murals – which are placed on the Mother Stewart’s building as vinyl wraps – include Springfield greats such as actress Lillian Gish and world champion boxer Davey Moore. Next up is a mural of former DJ and Springfield advocate Dick Hatfield.

“Dick Hatfield created a counter-culture in Springfield back in the fifties and sixties that resonates even today with nuances of avant-garde style of looking at life,” Hrinko says.

Hrinko is happy with how well the mural project has been received and enjoys being able to do something large scale in his hometown.

“We created the concept and the mural project just began expanding and growing,” he says. “Vinyl gives the appearance of it being hand-painted on the wall with the flexibility to change it or add on to it.”

Kevin Loftis, managing member of Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company says Hrinko has also done the vast majority of can labels for their products and helps to design and tweak the logo for different applications.

“When he brought us ideas about (vinyl) art installs, it was an easy decision for us,” says Loftis. “The installs are great! Installs like this add ambiance and help to tell stories and history.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic and health regulations have put a damper on the arts in many other areas, Hrinko says it actually gave him time to catch up on projects.

“It can be hard to balance my daily art career at The MacRay Company with my personal art career and family,” Hrinko says. “COVID gave me the space to tackle projects I’ve been wanting to do for years.”

Hrinko enjoys creating “live paintings” where he feels he captures the energy and feel of the moment, but in the future, he would like to offer a mobile art gallery through downtown Springfield with framed vinyl artworks. He would also like to cover the Kissell Center wall with murals.

While he can’t pinpoint his favorite personal piece outside of the logo for Mother Stewart’s, he says as an artist he is always his toughest critic.

“I try to let my art speak for itself,” he says. “As long as I get a reaction from someone, I know I’ve done my job as an artist.”

Read more articles by Darci Jordan.