Whatcom Magazine

Lanny Little captures history in murals and now videos

Lanny Little, the creator of several public murals in Bellingham, including the one visible behind him on the Crown Plaza building, has turned his energy to making videos about local history and artists.
Lanny Little, the creator of several public murals in Bellingham, including the one visible behind him on the Crown Plaza building, has turned his energy to making videos about local history and artists. Courtesy to The Bellingham

When Lanny Little first used new technology to produce a short video a decade or so ago, the lifelong artist knew he had found another way to expand his love of public art.

Little, 76, and his wife, Kay, moved to Bellingham in 1998, and he quickly achieved local popularity with his many local murals, several of which depict Fairhaven history and life.

Now he’s doing the same with videos, which he calls “short movies,” including three films that document significant aspects of Fairhaven history, with Jim Rich portraying the spirit of Fairhaven founder Dirty Dan Harris.

Little is also working on a documentary about the history of Mount Baker Theatre, which will be 90 years old in 2017.

“It’s a one-man project, which I hope to turn into a full, 60-minute, high-definition documentary,” he says. “I would really like people with family stories to tell about the Mount Baker Theatre to contact me. ... I recently interviewed a woman who was seven days old when the theater opened, and six years later she found herself tap dancing on the stage.”

Little has long had a passion for painting and drawing. He forged a career teaching art and selling his own works, but after creating his first mural at a high school in 1976 he discovered he could make a good living in mural design. His local public murals include the Old Town scene at Bay and Holly streets, and the street scene inside the entrance to the Parkade, now called the Commercial Street Parking Garage.

I never wanted to make films until relatively recently. Before YouTube, I wouldn’t have bothered.

Lanny Little, muralist, video maker

Little also painted the mural on the movie-viewing wall at Fairhaven Village Green, a “welcome to Fairhaven” image on a Harris Avenue building, the red wheelbarrow mural on an apartment building at Holly and Indian streets, and a mural on the north side of the Crown Plaza building that memorializes Bellingham’s downtown Carnegie Library.

Videos are his focus now, with several dozen finished so far. His short videos, which he calls “video postcards,” have been followed in the past few years by longer films of 13 minutes to 20 minutes about the likes of Fairhaven’s Morgan Block, where Good Earth Pottery and Artwood Gallery are located; and the Fairhaven Hotel, built at the corner of 12th Street and Harris Avenue in the 1890s and torn down in 1953.

Little has also produced video bios of local artists and Fairhaven personalities.

“I’ve always loved movies, but I never wanted to make films until relatively recently,” he says. “Before YouTube, I wouldn’t have bothered.”

Lanny Little

To see his videos, go to lannylittle.com

To contact Little, call 360-647-5675 or emailed lannylittle@gmail.com

  Comments