Nicole Duenes, local freelance artist, recently painted the murals of the arena and entryway to Cascade Laser Tag.
Duenes' kids take classes at Outlaw Martial Arts, also owned by Cascade Laser Tag founders Marty and Jaymie Kaczmarek. The family and the couple made a connection and would always see one another at classes. The Kaczmareks mentioned that they were opening a laser tag place next door to Outlaw Martial Arts, and Duenes offered to paint anything they needed.
Duenes and her family have lived in Sisters for 2-1/2 years and have been visiting for four. They moved from Southern California, where Duenes would do pop-up painting specialties from a shop in Seal Beach.
"I would do mini canvas paintings, paintings of the shop and florals within it," she said. She paints a variety of styles, but murals, portraits and nature, flora and fauna paintings are her specialty. She also does custom portraits and prints.
"If I make a connection with someone, the creativity happens naturally and I love doing work for people," said Duenes.
The Kaczmareks approached her about doing the murals for their laser tag arena.
"I decided to volunteer my time because the Kaczmarek's offer so much to our community and kids. So, they provided the painting materials and told me their visions and I painted it for them," said Duenes
The vision of Marty and Jaymie was a space theme. Duenes took ideas from pictures in galaxy books she had at home. One wall is Star Trek galaxy-themed and the other wall is a fighter jet in space surrounded by a starry sky.
The process took about seven hours for Duenes to complete. She started with black walls and painted the outline of the ship and galaxy with acrylic paint during the daytime, and then would come back at night and paint over it with glow-in-the-dark paint using an LED flashlight.
"My favorite part of doing the project was working with the LED flashlight and glow-in-the-dark paint," she said.
The arena was put together with the help of Marty's father as well as graffiti art provided later by barber and community member Tony Gonzalez.
"It was a fun process to see the empty arena turn into a really cool place. It was a very collaborative project," she said. "My main inspiration for doing it and donating my time was to give back to them for all they do for the community and providing such a fun environment for kids."
Duenes is hoping to continue doing projects and looks forward to more jobs in Sisters.
"I am open to any project that comes my way," she said.
Cascade Laser Tag arena is located at 465 W. Hwy. 20, Sisters.