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Lacey Crime's first canvas wasn't the side of a building like it often is now. It was a small wall inside her own home. The wall wasn't fully painted in graphics as most of her murals are now. Instead, the sky blue wall had smaller space graphics on it to give the feeling of looking at space from inside a rocketship. In 2015, it began with a child's bedroom -- her child’s bedroom. For her technically the art of cookie decoration preceded her love of murals and painting walls and buildings. But these days, even though Crime is known in the area for her cookies, murals are taking up more of her time.
Growing up, Lacey says she never took her artistic talent seriously. She thought she needed to get a "real" job to be successful. Art didn't seem like it could also pay the bills.
"It's pretty cool to say that the starving artist mentality is quickly becoming an idea of the past and artists are thriving in their field, making it their full-time jobs while [being] able to fully support their families," Crime said.
Crime’s first mural, the one featuring astronauts and space inside her child’s bedroom, led her to paint more and more. Although for Crime, she says it took years before she really delved into that space.
“Murals are satisfying, addictive. It’s a space profession that allows more time with my family,” she said.
Painting has taken her across North Carolina to different cities and even to the neighboring states. Crime just finished an interactive mural in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at The Twisted Penguin.
“The interactive bench murals are always a fun way to fool the eye and get the people in town involved and excited about public art,” she said.
In Myrtle, Crime traded in a bench for a surfboard. And for this destination, some of her family got to come along. Crime says that's the most challenging part of her business: finding the time to balance both it and her family.
“Having to juggle being a mom of four and a military spouse … planning around my husband’s schedule and him having to try and plan around mine has been quite interesting to say the least,” she said.
Crime’s murals are usually created with a little bit of ideas from both the client and herself. She begins by talking with clients to get their vision and any ideas down on paper. Crime says this process is to ensure that not only is she a good fit for them, but the client is also a good fit for her. Then comes all the digital mockups of the design. While the greatness of artistic freedom is often bounced around in the field, Crime says she always gets happy when clients have an exact design and they just need her to paint it.
“I have one coming up where the client is giving me full artistic freedom. As much as it sounds fun, I find there’s more pressure because I really don’t want to mess it up and have their expectations not met,” Crime said. “Logos sound boring to many but they are so fun and relaxing for me. Give me a logo mural any day!”
As far as favorites, Crime has trouble naming just one or two but logos aren’t in the mix. Crime recalls a challenging mural in Lumberton as being one of her favorite pieces she has completed.
“I needed to put together a 4-stage scaffolding. I needed to recruit help moving it every time I was done with a section. I think there is more pride in that one because of all the labor involved. I didn’t have a lift where I could easily go up and down, left and right. It was straight-up labor and my body was sore every day from carrying the paint cans up and down each story. And of course, the design is absolutely beautiful. All of the elements give a snapshot of Historic Robeson County’s history.”
Thankfully for now, according to Crime, she stays pretty busy. While cookies are still part of her work now and in the future, she's glad for the swing toward work in murals.
"I am one of many artists who was selected to paint a large mural in the Durham County Public Art Project. I was just approved to paint a mural in the Central Prison in Raleigh," she said.
Although, according to Crime, the job that has held the most weight in her kids' minds was a job she did for Mr. Beast a couple of years ago.

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