Tuesday, August 31, 2010

North Florida Fair, 2003

ALSO, in 2003, I painted this mural at the North Florida Fair Grounds.
I've wore the fact that I've NEVER attended the North Florida Fair like a badge of honor.
I broke my 25 year streak in the fall of 2003. A parent of a student of mine at Oak Ridge noticed the mural I painted in the cafeteria and recommended me for a little mural for the fair. I painted this backdrop in the agricultural building. There is a sandbox that goes in front of the painting where they bury potatoes and children dig them up. They paid me for the project and gave the missus and I free admission. We had fun, but have never been back.

Also, our youngest just turned 1 today! Happy birthday big guy! Remind me to get into THAT story later.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oak Ridge Elementary Clinic, 2003

During the following school year, I found myself with an extra open period/planning block. My principal wanted a mural in the clinic. Here's what I came up with.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oak Ridge Elementary Cafeteria, 2003

Okay. So I was still painting murals for the movie theater AFTER I was already a full-time art teacher. It was kind of my way of keeping the bridges alive and well so that we could still see free movies. That was late spring 2003. School was still in session, and word got back to my principal. Before my first year of teaching ended, my principal made it known that she wanted me to paint a mural in the new cafeteria. Not one to tell my new boss "no", I started preliminary designs. When all was said and done, the 10' by 66' mural was finished in 90 man-hours. I really thought it would be done in a weekend.

I had a professor in college, one of the few whose names I actually remember, who would tell us stories from his time as a teacher. Dr. Anderson (Art history and aesthetics) said that he was known around his high school as "the Mural Guy." When I asked him how he became known as "the Mural Guy" he had a very sensible, pedestrian answer: I painted a mural.

It really is that simple.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hulk, 2003

So I'm no longer a movie theater employee, yet here I am the following spring painting a mural for the then, upcoming Incredible Hulk film. For this mural, adapted from a Michael Golden drawing that I really liked, I wanted to make it, well, "Hulking." The Spider-man painting was wide, so I wanted to make this one tall. From the inside of the theater, there is a balcony across the lobby (you can see it above the Spider-man photos.) I put a twelve(?) foot ladder on it to reach the highest parts of the windows. Needless to say, it was very dizzying. Thankfully, when I paint, I'm "in the zone" so the not-looking-down part was taken care of. The photo in the middle has been augmented to reduce glare. Again, not sure who had to clean it up.

Painting the mural was more memorable that the movie itself turned out to be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spider-man, 2002

I didn't paint another "mural" until 1998. By that point, I was working at a local movie theater. In an effort to promote "A Bug's Life," management was looking for an artist to paint the characters on the front windows. Myself and a cadre of employee/friends finished the characters in about a day. I don't think much of it now, and I didn't think much of it at the time either. (I only think of it as I type this blog. If any photos were taken of it, it wasn't by me.)

What I DID take pictures of was a giant Spider-man I painted in the Summer 0f '02. This was my most monumental attempt at a larger-sized painting. I drew the picture on paper and colored it with a limited marker palette, and then "gridded" the whole thing on the front windows with dry-erase markers. This was to be the last painting I painted on the theater windows as an employee. By the time fall 2002 rolled along I was officially an art teacher.

I have no idea which poor employee had to clean it up, or how.

(Hard to believe I was still taking pictures with FILM back in 2002!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Behold! The First Mural!

So here it is. My first "mural" painted at the Tallahassee Mall. In the early '90's Tallahassians everywhere were surprised when the mall constructed a brand new Parisian in the DISTANT parking lot. They built an expansive addition to the mall to connect with this Parisian. Young artists such as myself were supposed to decorate the "under construction" store fronts with our "Greater Gaither Golf and Games" logos. You can see a whole bunch of other paintings promoting racial equality in the background. These pictures were probably taken on an Easter morning judging by mine and Bro Joe's outfits. (We learned years ago, that the mall is deserted Easter morning so you can take some quality family photos on the Easter Bunny's throne.)

Nearly twenty years later and they still haven't filled a fraction of those potential stores. All the big anchor stores have come and gone and the only thing keeping that mall afloat is the AMC 20. The Tallahassee Mall is practically a graveyard. That's probably why it's my favorite.

I believe that my "painting" is currently a Spencer's.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Since July was all about “Codename: VooDoo Chyl’” comic art, I originally intended for August to be about mural art.

And now here we are: half-way through August and NO MURALS. Allow me to explain. One thing that slowed me down was finishing artwork for the blog banner. Another of the hold-ups was compiling photos of old murals.

The first “mural” I ever remember painting was in the Tallahassee Mall around Spring 1992. I put the term mural in quotations because I didn’t really think of it as a mural, just a “bigger picture” of a design I drew for a contest. I didn’t realize it until I gathered pictures for this blog, that maybe some back-story is in order. It turns out that 1992 was a big year for me artistically.

I’d been in the local paper twice before: once for throwing a baseball at a dunk tank during some bike safety rodeo sponsored by the TPD and another time for an art contest, in 1989.

The third time I was in the newspaper was in January 1992. My art teacher at the time chose to have my artwork printed in the “Student Artwork” section of the paper. Interestingly, the Tallahassee Democrat stopped publishing “Student Artwork” during my first year of teaching. Sorry kids.

Someone at the Paper must have liked what they saw, because I was recommended and hired (my first “contract” and paycheck) to illustrate the cover of the August 1992 “Back to School” supplement.

Later that year, (I think. I haven’t found any “date proof”) I entered a contest for the “Greater Gaither Golf and Games.” Contestants were to create a design promoting racial unity for a South Side golf course. I think it was my mom who suggested a black and white hands holding up a golf ball. Underneath this image would be the word: EQUALI-TEE. Only an elementary school teacher could create something so corny and catchy. Of all the entries submitted, I won. They printed the logo on visors, t-shirts, and the flags for the greens (“pins” for those in the know.)

I peaked in eighth grade. This probably explains why I thought, sincerely believed with all my heart, that I wasn’t going to finish high school. I was gonna be a professional comic book artist. Didn’t happen. Never thought I’d need a college degree. Didn’t think I’d need to use it. Never dreamt I’d be renewing my teaching certificate after five years. Am sickened by the prospect of renewing it again after next year. Ten years of teaching!?!

Boy, have I been wrong.

So what does this have to do with murals? Trust me, I’m getting to that…

Thursday, August 12, 2010


It has been faaaar toooo long since I last posted.
I'll have to rebuild my momentum.
I promised myself that I would not post anything new until I finished my BRAND NEW BANNER!
It always takes longer than I expect. During the rest of the month I will be showcasing murals painted by me. So, buckle up as we take a trip down memory lane.