One of the best things about living on the Eastern Shore is that we are constantly surrounded by so many creative people. Some of these people you never get to see, but you’re surrounded by their work all over town. Two of these amazing people are Kathy Denk and Pam Mason. This star-studded duo has been painting murals throughout Ocean City since the year 2000. It actually all began with clouds. Okay, we’ll back up just a little bit so you can have the full story.
Pam hails from the Baltimore area, but spent so much time in Ocean City as a child, that moving to Ocean City felt like coming home. Pam attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where she studied major studio art, print making and graphic design. It wasn’t until she began taking summer courses that she began to study painting. “I loved working with everything two-dimensional and learning how to work with paint only added to the art that I already enjoyed so much.” Pam’s first job out of college was with a design firm in Baltimore. As it was expected, this was a cubicle job from 9-5 Monday through Friday, which was not conducive to a young graduate bursting at the seams to get out there and create her own art. “Outside of my day job, I was hand painting furniture and participating in craft shows, really wishing for a change in scenery.” It wasn’t long before Pam realized that she needed this change sooner rather than later and moving to Ocean City seemed like the perfect solution.
Kathy moved to Ocean City from Laurel, MD in the 1980’s and began working as a nail technician at Maggie’s Nail Salon on 5th Street. Once located in one of the oldest houses in Ocean City, Kathy lived above the nail salon with her co-workers. “It felt like a sorority, it was a great time of our lives.” When it came to the holidays, Maggie would provide each nail technician with different materials to create holiday gifts for their clients. Kathy specifically noted one year when they painted hundreds, maybe even a thousand sand dollars with holiday beach scenes. Kathy credits Maggie with encouraging the girls who worked for her to explore their artistic talents and to really put their gift to work. Outside of the nail salon, they would compete in nail art competitions in local cities and would win every time. “It got to the point that we would win so many competitions, that we were asked not to compete because other nail salons wouldn’t enter if they knew we were going to be there,” Kathy noted.
Kathy really earned her start painting murals in Ocean City because so many of her salon clients were hotel owners and managers. As you can imagine, many of these early murals included beach scenes which called for really beautiful skies – sunsets, sunrises, and clouds. There was only one tiny issue with these mural requests. Kathy knew that there was only person who could truly paint realistic and beautiful clouds and that was Pam. Pam’s niche with paint is large canvas pieces with tropical skies and tropical landscapes. Knowing that Pam had recently moved to Ocean City, Kathy called one day to ask “wanna’ paint some clouds?” and thus, the partnership between Denk and Mason was born.
Kathy and Pam have worked together for years in Ocean City, doing mostly commission work for local business owners. One of those owners includes Leighton Moore and Seacrets. Next time you’re at Seacrets, take a moment to walk through this legendary landscape and check out the walls. I know, most of us do not go to Seacrets to peruse the walls, but once you do, you’ll finally realize that it’s all of the custom paint work throughout Seacrets that really gives it so much personality. Maybe it’s because of the serene setting that allows the Rum Runners to go down so smoothly. Theory to be tested…
In addition to local businesses, Kathy and Pam are often commissioned to paint murals and pieces for local residents. One of their most recent and favorite pieces includes a mural of the boardwalk and pier rides complete with the grand entrance that is located on North Division Street and banner plane in an absolutely gorgeous sky. You can also find Kathy at local art fairs in town around the holidays and the big art festival in Bethany Beach in June. Additionally, you can find Kathy’s work for sale at Bungalow Love and the Berlin Coffee House, both located in Berlin, MD.
To stay in touch with Kathy and Pam, please be sure to like their Facebook pages by clicking on the links below. It’s not just about sunsets and landscapes for these two amazing artists. The sky truly is the limit and as Kathy mentions “As long as people keep building new walls, we’ll keep painting them.” Yes, we believe that to be true and we can’t wait to see what else Kathy and Pam can imagine.