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Mural showcases artists’ talent, promotes business


By Alex Welch
Contributing Editor 

  If you’re driving down Highway 81 in McDonough, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss the new mural recently painted on the side of Shane’s Rib Shack. With the project now complete, local drivers will certainly have their eyes drawn to the barbecue restaurant as they pass by.

  The design for the mural stemmed from the mind of Jay Gille, a former catering coordinator for Shane’s. Gille said he proposed the idea to the restaurant’s owner, Tammy Pair, explaining how a splash of color on the side of her building would be beneficial for business.

Jay Gille (front) touches up a few spots while Jonathan Prozzo paints the lettering on the new mural of the side of Shane’s Rib Shack of Highway 81.                              Photo by Alex Welch

  “I suggested to Tammy, ‘If you put a mural on this building, you would be amazed at the business that you got, or at least the exposure,’” Gille said. “There have been so many people coming by and talking about it.”

  The mural encompasses a cloudy, blue sky, a grass plain, Shane’s logo, a rib shack and some information about their catering services and the number to contact. Pair said she wanted to promote the catering side of her business, and she was impressed with the final product.

  “I wanted to really advertise catering because that’s a huge part of our business, and I want to grow that part,” said Pair. “I think it looks fabulous. It’s exactly what I was looking for. I think it makes a statement coming down [Highway] 81. We’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. I wanted something that really tells about us and promotes brand awareness.”

  It took Gille and his business partner Jonathan Prozzo about a week to complete. The two artists are still finding their bearings in the industry, as they just recently decided to form their own design team, which they will call Mona Lisa Art and Design. Gille said he went to art school when he was younger, but family obligations required him to hold a steady job. After working in the restaurant industry for years, he said it was finally time for him to embark on his dream.

  “I never took the chance,” said Gille. “Our goal is to pretty much serve the community. We’re in such an infant stage.”

  While both men are excited to start their business, they each admitted the risk involved with walking away from other work. Prozzo stepped away from his prior job to start this new career path.

  “I was in warehousing. I’ve just never given myself the opportunity to create art. Jay came to me and said, ‘I’m trying to get this thing started,’ and I said I’d love to,” said Prozzo.

  The mural at Shane’s was just the tip of the iceberg. Gille said they have multiple jobs lined up now. One local resident wants them to paint the Sistine Chapel at his lake house. Pair said the mural is also helping to promote their work.

  “We’ve had a couple people call the store because they want something done at their house. I think it’s going to be a good bouncing board for them,” said Pair.

  Prozzo said he and Gille are starting a project where they paint customer’s favorite college team logos on garage doors. Pair said Gille is also drawing up designs to paint her catering vans at Shane’s. There seems to be plenty of work ahead, but one project particularly stands out to Gille.

  “When I came down here in 2006, there was a mural in the Square. I’ve talked to Billy Copeland a few times about redoing that mural,” said Gille.

  He said the Square drew him in when he first visited Mc-Donough, and he continues to pursue approval for the project.

  Gille and Prozzo are just getting started, but business appears to be on the right track. For more information on their services, call Gille at 678-920-3471 or Prozzo at 404-819-2912.



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