The new fortune cookie mural near the Katy Trail has a message for passersby and for the artist.
“The best times of your life have yet to be lived,” reads the art on Blackburn Street near the trail.
Mariel Pohlman said she chose the phrase to be a positive reinforcement for those who are commuting to work or walking under the bridge. It’s also been a reminder for her to stay focused on her art career and to remain optimistic.
Pohlman’s latest piece is a part of an initiative by nonprofit Uptown Dallas Inc., which works to improve the neighborhood. For its 25th anniversary, the organization is showcasing works by local artists in public spaces.
“People are looking for an engaging, lively visual that also represents the area that they’re in,” said Anita Simmons, director of marketing and communications for Uptown Dallas Inc.
Mural popularity has especially blown up in the Instagram age, with people using them as backdrops for photos. The social media appreciation has been a boost to some artists. Pohlman said she grew her art business from the platform.
“I picked that message because I have to remind myself often. Especially with these decisions I made — I kind of start questioning myself,” the 29-year-old said, referring to her recent job change to working as an artist.
“I went through a time overthinking: ‘I kind of irreversibly changed my life.’ I want to believe it was for the better and not dwell on the past.”
When Pohlman quit her secure job as an accountant in Dallas, she wasn’t sure what she’d do next.
She had reached a point in her career where it felt like she was going to do the same repetitive work forever. And Pohlman wanted more creativity in her life. After circumnavigating the globe on a 10-month spontaneous trip with a sketchbook, she came back to Dallas with a small art portfolio.
It eventually led to working on her first mural, which led to other gigs. Now, Pohlman works full-time as an artist doing commissioned work and illustrations.
“Sometimes it takes putting yourself in a crazy circumstance to force yourself to take a risk,” Pohlman said.
The lucky numbers she chose as part of the fortune cookie motif — 25, 6, 23, 18, 29, 7 — are inspired by the 25th anniversary of Uptown Dallas Inc., the date the mural was created, her age and lucky number seven. Her other murals can be found near Sylvan Thirty in West Dallas, North Hall Street and Deep Ellum.
Uptown Dallas Inc. plans to get local artists to paint on the other concrete spaces along the Katy Trail. The organization will be working on covering 11 walls through the next few years.