Someone You Should Know: The Man Behind the Murals

PARKER, S.D. — If you’ve been to a high school gym in South Dakota you’ve likely seen murals showcasing school mascots. But a couple dozen of them from Sioux Falls to Brookings and beyond all come from the same artist.

In this week’s Someone You Should Know we introduce you to the man behind the murals.

What started as a request for one gymnasium mural over a decade ago has turned into quite a creative summer job.

“It just kept growing and growing. Everything word of mouth. I don’t advertise of anything. People call me and email me, and are you the guy that did this mural in such and such a town, and yeah that’s me,” says Dave Fuller.

Fuller is Parker High School’s longtime art teacher. Not only did he paint their pheasant, but he’s responsible for nearly 30 other mascot murals in school gyms throughout the Sioux Empire.

“Basically it’s projected onto the wall and everything else is pretty much painted free hand with just a traditional paint brush, and a little bit of air brush at the end,” says Fuller.

From start to finish – it takes Fuller about a week to paint the masterpieces. He says he tries to make an impact with each design.

“Things big and bold, large stripes, large graphics and 3D lettering. Might have a drop shadow a lot of times busting out of a wall,” says Fuller.

Fuller’s art goes beyond eastern South Dakota. He has traveled as far as Rapid City where he painted the Cobbler at Central High School. While he doesn’t have a favorite some do catch his eye.

“I like painting tigers, animals, things like that,” says Fuller.

It’s not only spectators who get to enjoy his work. He gets to admire them from afar.

“I’ve seen so many highlights on the news and they use my paintings as back drops, and they usually film in that direction and that’s kind of cool to see that in the background,” says Fuller.

Fuller is a Parker Pheasant through and through, but he enjoys giving other schools a sense of pride.

“Schools appreciate it. It kind of gives their school an identity, and something to be proud of. I’ve had a lot of great compliments on how much it’s transformed their gym,” says Fuller.

He says as long as he’s standing he’ll keep free-handing. Fuller’s summer is already filling up with bookings. His next stops include schools at Mobridge and Elkton plus Flandreau Indian School.

School booster clubs pay him about $6,000 for each one.

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