Marine-life artist David Dunleavy is putting the finishing touches on a gargantuan "Dolphin Rodeo" mural that he painted on the sides of two boat barns at the Tavernier Creek Marina.
Dunleavy's large-scale creation, featuring two huge dolphin fish leaping to feed on flying fish, stretches 252 feet long and 32 feet high. The New Jersey-based artist says they are the largest dolphin fish, also known as mahi-mahi, ever painted in the world.
Not to be confused with dolphin the mammal, dolphin fish are a popular game fish in the Florida Keys.
Dunleavy worked seven to eight hours per day for 23 days to create the bold illustration. It is the 62nd in a series of sea-life murals he has painted and the fourth such in the Keys.
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"The wall has excellent exposure and can't be missed driving south on the Keys' Overseas Highway," Dunleavy said Friday. "As a an avid fisherman and diver, I take all the inspiration and beauty from fishing and diving experiences and paint them in a very large way for people to enjoy."
The mural is scheduled to be dedicated during the Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo Tournament set for May 4-6, 2016, at the Tavernier Creek Marina, mile marker 90.8. Sherwin Williams donated the paint and Sunbelt Rentals provided the hydraulic lift Dunleavy used to complete the mural.
Marine-life murals are common in the Keys. Two of the largest: Artist Wyland painted a huge one on a building at mile marker 100 and he and fellow marine-life artist Guy Harvey created the one on the wall of the Marathon Kmart.