My art is fairly straightforward. I'm not much of a surrealist, and although I like to draw cartoons, my main goal is almost always to communicate a message. When I was approached about painting the Indiana wall by the Plaza Walls committee, I was fairly hesitant. It's a big space, and honestly I don't really have a defined 'style' or consistent theme in my art right now. I told Kris Kanaly (of Plaza Walls) to give me a week to think about it.
Then my friend Charles walked into the store.
Charles (endearingly referred to as Cuz or Cookie by Plaza goers) will visit our store anywhere between 2-8 times a day. Cuz has lived in the this neighborhood long before it became what we now know as the vibrant, hip, Plaza District. Cuz enjoys a chicken sandwich and french fries at The Mule, but he's not here for the artisanal menus, the art, the booze, or any of the retail establishments. To Charles, we are all somehow related. In one way or another, we are all family, and that's why we call him Cuz.
Not as frequently, but quite often, we'll get a visit from another common Plaza pedestrian, Domingo. Domingo (or Domino, or 'Mingo, or Trouble...) lives in the Classen Ten Penn neighborhood and works at Scorecards Bar on Indiana. He has a lively personality and has even coined his own enthusiastic catchphrase, 'Yeah, right!" His involvement in the neighborhood proceeds the rejuvenation, the restaurants, and the retails. Although he doesn't have a tattoo and doesn't drink, you can find him most often at No Regrets Tattoo Shop or Scorecards Bar.
Every town has a sign or a mural or water tower recognizing their hometown heroes or living legends. Well, these are ours. They've had no financial investment in the development of the neighborhood, but they help define what the Plaza is. The Plaza is a community, not a shopping center. The Plaza, like Cuz would have it, is a family. Absolutely, and most importantly, everyone is welcome here.
This mural is a tribute to everyone involved in the Plaza community. It is for the folks that have lived in this neighborhood for decades, the new businesses and residents, and all the patrons and out-of-towners that visit us. It's a reminder to the new residents (myself included) that although we are in business to profit, that profit cannot come at the expense of the preexisting community. Not everyone will understand the message this mural is sending, and that's okay. Sadly, but understandably, this mural will be covered up in a month or so, and that's okay too. I'd love for the mural to have a lasting impression on the neighborhood. At the end of the day, it left a big impression on two of the greatest neighbors and friendliest faces the Plaza has ever had.