Local artist transforms graffiti-covered wall - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local artist transforms graffiti-covered wall

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YAKIMA, WA - Right now, the contemporary wall mural on 48th Avenue in Yakima is pretty easy on the eyes, but that wasn't always the case. 

The salon next door was worried the graffiti that used to be there would be an eyesore and bad for business, so they took matters into their own hands.

The wall of the Conoco gas station adjacent to Shannon Elizabeth Waxing Studio has always been a common spot for tagging, until recently.

It was filled with spray-painted symbols and ugly splotches that studio owner Shannon Helgeson knew she had to fix.

"I'd heard about, somewhere, graffiti art, or graffiti murals," Helgeson said, "and I thought that that would be the good route to take."

Helgeson happened to have a client who specialized in graffiti murals and offered to transform the splotchy wall.

After Helgeson agreed with the Conoco owner that the wall should become an art piece, Tony Armas went to work.

First, he drew up an idea he thought would be perfect for a salon: a colorful image of a beautiful woman's face.

"He customized it to what we needed, and that was perfect for us," Helgeson said. "We went with that, and it's been a great landmark for us."

Since then, Helgeson has received many compliments on the mural from clients and passersby alike, and she says it hasn't had a single tag since it went up.