Vic Carr, also known as the “paint guy” at Westlake Ace Hardware in Corinth Square, will soon begin selling “paint-by-neighbor” kits.
OK, they’re not actually called “paint-by-neighbor,” but Carr’s artistic idea is pretty much that. He’s saved a sample of every single paint color purchased by Westlake customers during the past few months and impressed a “fingerprint” of each on small and sturdy boards.
The result is a vibrant array of colors, each the size and shape of a fingertip. But all Carr sees when he looks at his paint boards is his neighbors, who are his frequent customers.
“These are all local people that come in here; they’re regulars,” Carr said. “If you bought paint, it’s on here, and your neighbors’ are on here. This is a little representative of paint for your community.”
Even dabs of paint from the purge bucket made it onto the paint board, Carr added. These are hodgepodge fingerprints filled with random colors that were collected from when the paint-mixing machine checks for color correction and drips the leftovers into the purge bucket.
But nearly all of the fingerprints on each paint board come from paints bought by customers.
“Every one of those was a customer. It might be for a whole house, it might be for a room, it might be for a little girl’s chair,” Carr said. “Just you name it, it’s right on there.”
Carr has been working at Westlake for 11 years as his “retirement job.” His specialty is the paint department, which he oversees as manager.
He has completed one paint board so far and is almost finished with the second one. Each board will get a white matte edge topped with a simple black frame. Carr’s plan is to auction them off and give the proceeds to Children’s Miracle Network.
“This store is great; we usually get about $150 a day (in donations),” Carr said, adding that Westlake customers are generous at the register. Many have expressed interest in his paint board project; some have even added their own fingerprints from their paint purchases. Others have checked in on his progress. “Many customers are into it.”
Auctioning for the first paint board will begin as soon as Carr gets it mounted on the frame. He plans to continue making and auctioning the paint boards for a while.
“It’s the story behind the art; it’s the documented story that can add to the value,” Carr said. “The story is, ‘This is your community.’”