Stumped by the oversized jigsaw puzzle pieces painted arbitrarily on a number of Chapel Hill buildings? These pieces stem from a mural wedged in an alley off Franklin Street near the Varsity Theatre.
"Jigsaw Puzzle" (1999) was commissioned by the town of Chapel Hill with the intent to deter vandalism that was often strewn down this stretch between the Rosemary Street lot and Franklin Street. Since Chapel Hill muralist Michael Brown's work was often left untouched, the town suggested Brown erect a mural.
With a troupe of student volunteers, Brown painted one side "Carolina Blue" (though sun-faded over time) to give the claustrophobic alley a more open feel, like that of a daytime sky. As a juxtaposition he added "Duke Blue" on the opposing wall, the one closer to the city of Durham. The dark blue colors also suggested that of a night sky. The mural is a double entendre: Carolina vs. Duke, and Day vs. Night. Brown then added an additional dimension incorporating interlocking puzzle pieces that appear to be missing from the mural. He took this concept a step further by asking the volunteers to paint missing pieces randomly around town, adding mystery to an already elusive piece.
(photographs taken on Franklin Street between Colombia/Henderson streets in the alley near the Varsity Theatre)