Talladega's new interactive mural by Jeff Hallman celebrates unity
April 7, 2023
(Talladega, AL) Unifying, a new interactive mural by Talladega native Jeff Hallman, has stirred up excitement and joy throughout the city this week. The mural was funded through a grant the City of Talladega applied for and received from Alabama Power. The whimsical piece, painted on the Alabama Consumer Law Group/Campbell & Campbell office, features massive flowers, two tree swings, and a watering can. The image inspires passersby to pause, admire the mural, and be photographed “watering” the flowers and “swinging” on the swings.
“I am thankful to Alabama Power for partnering with us on this exciting project, and thankful to Jeff Hallman for using his talents to help enhance our community,” said City Manager Seddrick Hill Sr. “The impact of Jeff’s mural was felt from the moment he began painting it. People throughout the community are thrilled.”
“Alabama Power Foundation Gateway Grants are intended to unlock the economic and cultural value within our communities, and one way this can happen is by enhancing community aesthetics with physical improvements in our neighborhoods,” said Alabama Power Community Relations Manager Steve Marlowe. “This mural is an example of making the downtown area more attractive and inviting to citizens and guests. And what makes this project even more special is that the City of Talladega was able to commission the talents of a locally-born artist. It was great to meet Jeff Hallman and watch him transform a blank wall into a beautiful mural.”
Although Jeff currently resides in Berlin, Germany, his Talladega roots are extensive. His parents, Jerry Hallman and the late Brenda Clardy Hallman, were both Talladegans. His grandfather started King Tires, which is now run by his father and his uncle.
Jeff attended R.I. Young Elementary School and Talladega High School. His mother, who passed away during the pandemic, was a beloved artist who taught classes at R.I. Young and designed the school t-shirts for many years. Jeff’s seven-year-old son, Leonardo, proudly wore one of the t-shirts designed by his grandmother as he waved at passersby who stopped to admire the mural.
“I was an actor for many years,” Jeff said. “At 33, I also picked up art. Once I started, I never stopped. For 12 years, I have continually grown as an artist. I believe in constant growth by constant practice. Before the pandemic, there were many acting opportunities in Berlin. When the pandemic began, those doors closed. That’s when I transitioned from acting to murals. As an actor you tell stories, and what better way to tell stories than through art.”
Jeff can be seen in a variety of movies including Cell, which features Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack, and The Defeated, which is currently airing on Netflix. While he has found success in both acting and art in Berlin, his love for Talladega is evident.
“There is something special about Talladega that I can’t describe. Going through the city and consistently seeing people that you have a connection to feels sacred in a way. As I painted the mural, people driving by kept stopping to tell me how excited they were about my work. Many people knew me or knew my parents,” Jeff said. “It’s a great feeling to see everyone find a common ground and art helps create that connection.”
“Working on a mural in my hometown, where my mother taught art, has been an indescribable feeling. It feels like unity. If I could conjure a dream scenario, it would be this. Having my son here to witness this beautiful happening is also part of the dream. It feels magical. The only thing I would change would be to have my mother here to see this,” he said.
Jeff’s father, Jerry Hallman, said, “He’s very talented. This talent comes from his mother. She was an extremely good artist. I’m so proud of him.”
Photo: Mural artist Jeff Hallman is pictured with his son, Leonardo, and his father, Jerry Hallman.