“He is one of the kindest, most respectful, thoughtful people out there, and I appreciate that about him very much,” Bowers said.

Thompson — who also makes a living working for a local general contractor and at a local tree-service company, and who spent four months working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska this past year — is both inspired by the scale of murals and realistic about the challenge in that.

“A lot of times murals are compromised because they are so large,” said Thompson, whose largest mural to date was 140 by 50 feet, painted on a 45-degree-angle wall, which he completed within three days.

He is often able to camouflage electrical boxes and pipes, as seen in his murals “Wherever You Go” and “Women in a Dream III.”

Murals elicit immediate feedback from the public — Thompson recalled a middle school kid yelling “It looks terrible!” as he and his mom drove past his last mural, which struck him as funny — and have the unique challenge of being visible while they are still in progress.

“If you’re in an area with a lot of people who are viewing you while you paint, you're not going to finish it in that day, so you are leaving that progressed work out for everyone to view,” he said. “Some people think it’s finished. Some people don’t know where it’s going.”

Written by Cronkite School student Ashley Oakes