Paint the Trail – Our Passions Create Our Own Trails

Paint the Trail – Our Passions Create Our Own Trails

Take a look at Jeff Sonksen’s fence art along the Seminole County Trail in Central Florida. Take it in, admire it. And now forget it.

Look past the art just for a moment and see it for what it is, a social media love story within one small but growing community.

Jeff Sonsken was an out of work contractor who got antsy and started painting murals on fences along the trail. Instead of getting into trouble for defacing fences, people came out to see them, talk about them and even share them. Intuitively he paints and in doing so he is marketing himself

A passion that moves people

Jeff is giving something special to the community. They love it and he just keeps bringing it on. Almost every week he adds new panels, and every week bikers, joggers and strollers look for the new additions on the trail.

He has generated so much interest in his artwork that he occasionally paints a batch of paintings and leaves them somewhere along the trail. His growing list of followers eagerly watch for his Art Drop which he posts on Facebook with a scavenger hunt-like clues.

Jeff explains, “When Easter came it was going to be the Paint the Trail Easter Art Drop… and it was chaos… they were messaging back and forth on the Facebook page… everybody was glued to the Facebook page”.

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He isn’t paid for this work, in fact it costs him. So why do it?

First, he’s nuts. Absolutely. You have to be if you have a goal of painting 5 ½ miles of fence. However, it is also opening a world of opportunity to him. He now gets requests for paintings and is recognized and loved throughout the community. He is a local celebrity.

Content creates connections

Look again at the fence. Now think of it as a social media timeline. As the painted fence grows down the path so do the number of fans and people connected by what they see. Photos are shared and conversations are exchanged as the community follows Jeff to see what’s next.

It’s a lesson learned for our daily business lives. We know what we do best but dare we put it out there to grow within our communities? To be shared? To have it come back to us manyfold in the form of customers wanting more?

Our passions create our own trails. Every community could use a positive uplifting message and Jeff Sonksen is creating relevant content constantly. It’s content that people anticipate, seek out, LIKE AND SHARE in both the digital world as well as the physical one. Each new piece builds community, extending the inherent social media timeline.

Content that moves people

Jeff is a reluctant celebrity. He avoids the limelight. He installs new paintings when the path is the quietest. He started this as a lark, as an outlet for his frustration. His new goal is to paint the longest continuous painting – 3 years into it and he’s not yet painted a mile.

Jeff’s hobby has led to unexpected consequences. His reluctant celebrity has made him a community hero and a desired artist (it’s almost an unwritten rule that artists have to die to have their art become desirable.) He’s become a poster child for what other communities around the nation could achieve.

“I can’t tell you how many notes and thank you cards I’ve gotten from people… It is cool” he says in his unassuming way.

Now, take a look at Jeff Sonksen’s art along the Seminole County Trail in Central Florida. Take it in, admire it. And share it.