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Local student tackles art project as big as a barn

Olivia Bozuhoski in front of the Cutchogue barn she is painting. Photo: Katharine Schroeder

Oregon Road in Cutchogue is perhaps one of the most scenic roadways on the North Fork, with lush open farmland and widely spaced houses. If you happen to be driving just west of where Alvah’s Lane ends at Oregon Road, you might notice an enormous mural being painted on the side of an old barn behind a yellow farmhouse.

Easily spotted from the road, the nearly completed painting depicts a colorful burst of gigantic sunflowers and if you look carefully you just might catch 16-year-old artist Olivia Bozuhoski hard at work.

Olivia, who lives in Riverhead, has been an artist her entire life. “I love to paint,” she says. “Doing something this big has been very adventurous.”

After seeing some of Olivia’s works, the owners of the Cutchogue barn commissioned her to paint a sunflower mural to replace the 15-year-old original that had worn off. Although Olivia had never taken on a project of this size, she jumped at the chance.

Using house paint, Olivia started work on the project during the summer and has been working steadily since.

“It’s taking a lot longer than I thought it would,” says Olivia with a laugh. “But I really enjoy doing it.”

After sketching out the design on the barn, Olivia began work using house paint, big brushes and a ladder. Working between four and eight hours at a stretch, she has slowly watched her design take shape.

“People biking or jogging by notice the mural,” she said. “One jogger stopped to tell me what a great job I was doing.”

Olivia, who is a junior at Riverhead High School, says that she wants to pursue a career in the arts.

“I’m thinking of majoring in fashion merchandising and illustration,” she says. “And of course I want to minor in fine arts too.”

The mural should be done in a few weeks; Olivia is adding a blue sky with clouds and has to put the finishing touches on the background. 

Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine