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Monday, July 25, 2011

Former cop paints mural for Mason District station

Law enforcement and art don’t often come together. But thanks to artist and ex-cop John Kiernan, a large mural will be installed in the Mason District Police Station that commemorates the community and the contributions of law enforcement.

Before retiring in 2001, Kiernan served 15 years on the Fairfax County police force, including four years in the Mason District, where he spent some time on bike patrol. He was also on the SWAT team for six years.

It took Kiernan five months to paint the 16 by 9 foot mural, which will be mounted on a wall in the lobby of the station’s secure area.

The central scene, showing a police officer sitting at a diner with a child who had run away from home, is inspired by a 1954 painting by Norman Rockwell.

“The idea of the Norman Rockwell is still there, but it’s totally my style,” Kiernan says. While the runaway in the original painting is a little boy, Kiernan’s has a girl. He used his daughter as a model. For the diner, Kiernan used elements from the Chicken and Steak on Route 7 near the Skyline Center, including the menu board and coffee machine.

"The Runaway" by
Norman Rockwell
On both sides of the painting, there are scenes from Mason District, including Annandale, Bailey’s Crossroads, and the Skyline Center.

The officers on the right side of the painting are modeled on Kiernan and his wife, 2nd Lt. Kristi Kiernan, who was recently assigned to the midnight shift at the Mason station.

Kiernan actually started out planning career in art. After art school, he worked in advertising design in New York. “I decided I needed more stability,” he says, so he embarked on a second career as a police officer, working in Southampton Village on Long Island briefly before moving to Virginia.

After retiring from the police force, he returned to the artistic life full time, starting a decorative painting business, as well as painting, at his art studio, Blue Line Studios, in Warrenton.

Prints of the police station mural will be available online. Half of the money raised from print sales will go the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

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