Native Nevada artist pays homage to Las Vegas with McCarran mosaic
The next time you’re flying back to McCarran International Airport, take a look down at the remodeled terrazzo floor in the baggage claim area of Terminal 1.
The dazzling, iconic skylines of Las Vegas — past and present — are embedded within a colorful mosaic that resembles a giant poker chip about 40 feet in diameter. The new artwork, completed Aug. 29, was designed by Randy Heil, a native Nevadan who was paralyzed below the shoulders after a car accident 31 years ago.
“I always had a fascination with the architecture of Las Vegas,” said Heil, a 50-year-old illustrator now living in Phoenix.
“I made sure to include a lot of hidden gems,” Heil said. “I think people are going to get a kick out of it.”
Heil was driving south on U.S. Route 93 from his hometown of Elko in September 1985, on his way to register for classes at UNLV. After a stint playing football at Idaho State University, Heil wanted to bring his skills back home to warmer climates.
“I froze my butt off in Idaho, so I thought I would give it a shot at UNLV while taking some art classes,” Heil said.
During the long drive to UNLV, Heil fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his car several miles south of Alamo. He was diagnosed as a quadriplegic shortly afterward.