Who the Heck Painted the Massive Mural of the Bison in Downtown Billings??
If you’ve driven N. 27th St south coming into downtown you can’t miss the giant bison mural on the side of Jake’s restaurant. It’s so ginormous that when I first arrived in Billings, I knew I had to find whoever painted this beauty.
And this is how serendipitous this is- I didn’t even have to find Rillie Tane, she kind of found me in a round-about way.
A colleague sent Rillie’s art to me on Facebook saying “Nikki you need one of her hats...”
Huh? What hat??? Who's hats?? THIS ONE! And I think it’s the coolest piece ever!
Rillie is her name, and making dope art is her game!
I got a hold of Rillie and she came to visit Michael and I in the new Mix 97.1 studio atop the Double Tree Hotel in downtown Billings.
Rillie has been doing art since she was a young girl. She started as a sketch artist and has really honed in on her craft. She now burns wood and paints massive murals around Montana. She also teaches art classes at Elysian to K-8 kiddos.
What is Rillie's method when wood burning her canvas?
Rillie draws her mountains, bears, elk, bison, and other scenery with a pencil on her canvas of choice- usually it's wood or her hats. Then, Rillie will go back over her drawing with a hot knife and even uses a torch for more burnt details. Talk about FIRE POWER, baby!
She was asked about teaching her kids at the school to wood burn, but we quickly realized, kids + fire = DANGER. If kids want start learning they can have a parent watch over them and also be a part of the fun.
After posting one wood burned wide-brimmed hat on Facebook , Rillie went viral!
I asked how backed up she is with commissioning these beautiful hats, murals, and wood burnings. Her calendar is getting busy!
Next summer she’ll be painting murals all over Montana and continuing her fabulous hats. Rillie’s next available time for her to customize a hat starts in March. But if you want to commission a hat, it’ll cost you $100, and WORTH IT if you love one-of-a-kind art and fashion.
Rillie’s advice for young kids who want to be artists is,
“To keep going. Keep trying new things and don’t get bogged down with setbacks.”
Good advice from Rillie Tane. Just like one of the most iconic painters ever said, “There’s no such thing as mistakes, just happy little accidents.” -Bob Ross