Levi Mullen circles his philosophy in new show

Levi Mullen of Greenville stands aside one of his art pieces featured in this fall’s exhibit at the Plumas County Museum in Quincy. Photos submitted

Levi Mullen is a man engaged with the world and his first solo exhibition of his work at the Plumas County Museum in Quincy is the next step in his journey.

Mullen has long been known as an artist and musician, but it’s been the past nine months — the months he became sober and free of drugs and alcohol — that have really inspired his work and his life.

He’s been known to take photos of his recent works and post them to social media. At High Sierra Music Festival people ran up to him and talked to him about his work. Sometimes he hangs a few pieces at Pangaea where he chefs in the kitchen. People have told him they like his work. That’s how he got the gig in the first place.

A friend of Scott Lawson, the Quincy museum’s director, showed Mullen’s work to him, and according to Mullen, he remembered Mullen doing the mural with artist Rafael Blanco outside the museum the prior year.

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The style exhibited in this exhibit stems from an assignment he was given at Feather River College — an assignment to use gel pen on black paper and create anything he wanted. He did his first eclipse drawing. He’s done thousands of the sphere centric drawings since then.

“It’s my universe and how I perceive it,” said Mullen.

“Last year I did a series of 15 eclipses — I’d do a circle fast as I can to create spontaneity; even if I made a mistake, I would use what went before but make more of it — I forced myself to use them and move out from them,” said Mullen.

He takes inspiration from the sun and nature in his pieces — and also his own changed life.

“No one is focusing on what’s in front of them — just their ego. I want to focus on the universe and get people focusing outside themselves and all the things around us and try to connect it all together,” said Mullen.

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Plumas Arts offered to lend its support to the show as well. He appreciates the professionalism of Roxanne Valladao, he said.

Mullen had always wanted to have an art show, but hadn’t been as motivated before getting sober.

Mullen talks of a near death experience that instigated wanting to do more with art and music professionally.

“I don’t have much more time on this earth. I must do things,” said Mullen.

Back in January he almost died. He has asthma and couldn’t breathe. He’d been really stressed out.

“I went home. I sat there and started humming and chanting. It did it and my body came back to normal,” said Mullen. Since that night, he went sober and committed himself to making a go of being an artist. He’s loving the new life he’s created for himself and his work he hopes, depicts that. He has a goal now: Be a working artist.

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“I feel grounded. I love creating good food; I have a good workplace and feel like I serve the community,” said Mullen. Sometimes customers see his art and comment on it and it makes him feel great. But it also puts things in perspective for him.

“When I do dishes or mop the floor it brings me back to reality.

I feel like I can create my own discipline now towards my art and music.”

He’s been doing live feed recordings of original songs, too.

Mullen, a Maidu from Indian Valley, hopes to leave the mountains. His goal is to head to New York and to travel around playing music and creating art and making up for lost time.

“Drugs take time away. Now I don’t go to bars anymore — I used to go to them and have a soda. I don’t need to do that anymore,” Mullen said. These days he’s on a steady regime of art, music, work, yoga and exercises. He says it’s all he needs.

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The exhibit at the museum represents the transition between his old life  and his new life — and like the moon passing in front of the sun, it’s both powerful and brief.

The reception for the exhibit at the Plumas County Museum, located at the corner of Jackson and Coburn streets, is Friday, Sept. 6, from 5 to 7 p.m.

For his part, that night, Levi Mullen plans on entertaining art opening patron out front with songs from his guitar.