‘Love will prevail’: Gig Harbor artist’s mural in favor of Ukraine vandalized

A mural in support of Ukraine has been vandalized in Gig Harbor, just hours after local artist Hillarie Ickerson completed it.

“This whole thing with Ukraine touched my heart,” Ickerson said.

The side of several companies, through his studio, became a blank canvas for the artist – an opportunity to raise awareness and spark conversation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“As an artist, you hope to have those kinds of opportunities because that’s what it’s all about, being able to do something that really touches people and touches their hearts,” Ickerson said.

She created a “Stand with Ukraine” mural with the country’s national flower, a sunflower representing peace in the center.

“Art is an expression. It’s someone sharing their voice,” Ickerson said.

The mural was brainstormed on Monday and finished and completed by mid-afternoon Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, Ickerson says his sister and several others messaged him about the vandalism.

The waterfront commercial strip painted footprints around the entire building, the oil-based paint took hours to dry, and their hard work was coated in red, white and blue paint.

“I didn’t think it would translate to something like this,” Ickerson said.

Surveillance video captured everything on camera.

“There were two people who they say came here around 11:30 p.m. last night and it looks like they threw everything away and ran away,” Ickerson said.

Business owners and residents of Gig Harbor are shaken by the brazen act of vandalism

Yet the artist remains strong.

Its mission is to support the Ukrainian people.

“It can absolutely be representative of what’s going on in Ukraine right now. It’s persevering through struggles,” Ickerson said.

The artist says she’s not letting this crime cloud her message.

“It motivates me even more to come back even stronger,” Ickerson said.

With the support of her community, she is working on a new piece embracing vandalism.

“I want to take what’s not there and use what they’ve done and create another beautiful art form that has an even bigger message than the first one,” Ickerson said.

Ickerson worked nonstop, hoping to get the new mural by Friday.

His message is loud and clear.

“Whatever this person was trying to do will definitely backfire and we’re definitely going to get that message across even stronger than before,” Ickerson said.

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