CARLSBAD — California’s historic Highway 101 has long posed as the subject for artists of all mediums. Now, a local artist plans to capture the iconic route like never before.
Over the next two years, Oceanside resident Scott Prior will create 101 paintings of Highway 101. His finished collection will become a book, documentary and traveling art exhibit that will bring the history and beauty of the 101 to people around the world.
“I want it to have a story,” Prior said. “A whole feeling that people can connect with.”
Prior recently launched the project that will document the scenic road from North County to the Mexican border. He initially hoped to document the entire length of the 101, but narrowed it down to one county to make it a more cohesive project.
“There’s a need for art in San Diego to be unified,” he said. “I thought it would be cool to focus on San Diego because I live here, and there’s plenty to paint along the 101.”
With a studio at the New Village Arts Foundry, Prior’s workspace is conveniently located on an old strip of the 101. While he does use the indoor space to put the finishing touches on his paintings, he plans on spending many hours outside to document the sights.
“You’ll be seeing a lot of me out painting around here, and all over,” he said.
The classically trained artist spends anywhere from several hours to weeks at a time when completing a painting. He expects to spend the next two years finishing the 101 paintings in his representational, or impressionistic, style.
One of the project’s most ambitious pieces is slated for a 5-foot-by-4-foot canvas left over from Prior’s college days in San Francisco. He recently sanded down the existing painting to recycle the canvas that will eventually reflect the bridges on Carlsbad Boulevard.
“You get the bridge arch, the reflection of the water, part of the peninsula and the smoke stack too,” he said. “It’s an awesome Carlsbad scene.”
Prior is filming his painting journey to produce a documentary that appeals to a wide audience. It will portray the places that he paints and who he paints with at the various locations. “And it’ll all be set to music that I listen to — not Mozart,” he said.
When the project is completed, Prior expects the collection to have at least 20 paintings of Carlsbad. He hopes to premiere the show at the Oceanside Museum of Art and eventually turn it into a traveling exhibition.
“It’s a resurgence of traditional art,” Prior said of his work. “Now I just gotta do it!”
To learn more about Scott Prior’s work and the “101 Paintings of Highway 101” project, visit www.scottwprior.com.