BUTTERWORTH - It's 15,994km from Argentina to Penang as the crow flies.
Certainly a long trip by any stretch of the imagination but not long enough to stop artist Martin Ron from coming here to showcase his talent.
The Argentinian, who celebrated his 34th birthday on Friday, is working on a 25m x 15m mural on the wall of a shop in Taman Perusahaan Raja Uda.
The painting will be the first big mural on mainland Penang under a programme initiated by Hin Bus Depot Art Centre and Woolley Development Sdn Bhd.
A day after he arrived here on Tuesday, Martin began work on his project with the help of two friends - Sam Carter, 29, from Britain and Matt Gorrick, 31, from Australia.
According to Martin, this would be his 200th painting but the biggest thus far.
"I've painted murals in Chile, the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium and Thailand, but this is the first time I'm painting one in Malaysia.
"The painting depicts a man holding out his palm like to feed the birds. But instead of birds, it will be turtles to represent Penang's turtle conservation.
"The painting will be like in three-dimensional (3D) and Penangites will love it," he said in an interview.
Martin said his painting technique was quite traditional as he used brush, water and oil-based paint.
"I don't use spray. I also love using ordinary people as my model. That's why the model in the painting resembles Matt," quipped Martin.
He said he started painting on the street at the age of 17.
"It gives me much pleasure to connect with different people through street art," he said.
Martin said his first art piece here would be completed by Friday.
His next destination is Italy.
Although the painting is still under progress, it has drawn curious stares from passers-by.
"It's so fascinating. Now we don't have to travel to the island if we want to take photograph with a mural," said one Penangite.