GIG HARBOR, Wash. - A mural in support of Ukraine has been vandalized in Gig Harbor, just mere hours after local artist Hillarie Isackson finished it.
"This whole thing with Ukraine has been pulling at my heartstrings," Isackson said.
The side of several businesses, across her studio, became a white canvas for the artist-- an opportunity to create awareness and spark conversation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"As an artist, you hope that you’ll get these kinds of opportunities because that’s what it’s all about, to be able to do something that really touches people and touches their hearts," IIsackson said.
She created a ‘Stand with Ukraine’ mural with the country's national flower, a sunflower representative of peace at the center.
"Art is an expression. It’s someone sharing their voice," Isackson said.
The mural was brainstormed on Monday and was up and finished by mid-afternoon on Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning, Isackson says her sister and several others messaged her about the vandalism.
The waterfront business strip has painted footprints wrapping around the entire building, the oil-based paint took hours to dry and her hard work was smeared with red, white and blue paint.
"I didn’t think it would result in something like this," Isackson said.
Surveillance video caught it all on camera.
"There were two people that they said came through here around 11:30 last night and it looks like they just dumped everything and ran off," Isackson said.
Gig Harbor business owners and residents are shaken by the brazen act of vandalism
Still, The artist is staying strong.
Her mission is to support the people of Ukraine.
"It can absolutely be representative of what it is that is happening in Ukraine right now. It's persevering through the struggles," Isackson said.
The artist says she's not letting this crime blur her message.
"That just fuels me, even more, to come back even stronger," Isackson said.
With the support of her community, she's been working on a new piece embracing the vandalism.
"I want to take what’s there not and use what they did and create some other form of beautiful art that has an even bigger message than the first one," Isackson said.
Isackson has been working nonstop, hoping to get the new mural up before Friday.
Her message is loud and clear.
"Whatever this person was trying to do it definitely will backfire on them and we’re just going to definitely get this message out even stronger than before," Isackson said.
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