Local artist Michael Brown's moonlight mural coats the the east side of the former Yates Motor building on West Franklin Street, which at one time also served as a stage for public art. These days, the building houses the Carolina Ale House, which serves up burgers, barbecue and baby backs -- during warmer months, al fresco.
BowBarr's long-lashed, mustached "Carrboro Man" mural juts out by a nose around the corner of the building located at 705 West Rosemary Street in Carrboro. It was created by local artist Scott Nurkin in 2013 whose cadre of signature murals around town include Greetings from Chapel Hill (off of Rosemary Street near Colombia Street in downtown Chapel Hill), and the newly painted Dean Smith mural (off of Smith Level Road and US 15-501 in Chapel Hill near the Orange/Chatham county line).
(photograph taken off of Rosemary Street in Carrboro)
Syd's Hair Shop has relocated and the brick building is up for rent, but the world-class mural remains, albeit generously faded from the afternoon sun. Michael Brown's "Many Earths" (2002) piece hangs on, thinly coating the westside wall howling for a restoration. Triangulate from here to catch sight of two additional murals. Across the street is Scott Nurkin's neo-signature "Greetings from Chapel Hill" (2013). Turn and face eastward for Brown's "Sea Turtles" (1993).
(photograph taken on W. Rosemary Street near the corner of Columbia Street in Chapel Hill)
From a distance, this mural of a world map embedded in the United States appears to be flecked in arbitrary pastel shades. But look closely to decipher the allegory reflected in the statement (in English and Spanish) that accompanies the piece: "We are a Nation of Many Colors." Each brick has a distinct word or design, yet in collaboration it appears as one seamless object. The mural was painted in 2005 by volunteers from El Centro Latino. Alaska and Hawaii are hidden behind the creeping greenery.
(photographs taken near Lloyd and Main streets in Carrboro)
He painted the delicate white dogwood blossoms first. Then added a backdrop in a deep green hue. And culminated by repeating blossoms trailing down the side of the building. Michael Brown's mural of North Carolina's state flower, "Dogwoods," evolved in three phases between 2009-2011. It can be seen from the parking lot behind the Chapel Hill Orange County Visitors Bureau on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
Brown has created a sundry of murals across Chapel Hill/Carrboro that have shaped the character of the sister towns including: The Blue Mural, Sea Turtles, Quilt, Parade of Humanity, Jigsaw Puzzle and Marathon.
(photograph taken behind the building at 501 West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill)
Perhaps intended as ephemeral art, four years later the street style mural still clings to the brick building in brilliant hues. With no direction and cans of paint, the Evoker dodged bugs in the Carolina heat as he painted for a flock of onlookers in Carrboro. The Boston-based artist, né Ryan Robidoux, decided upon a trio of his signature monsters characterized by a bold cartoon-like style for the "Wootini Gallery" mural. He was commissioned by the Wootini Gallery to paint the piece "live" during the 2010 opening of an art exhibit in which he was displaying his work.
The exhibit also marked the new home of the gallery known for Pop Pluralism (aka Lowbrow Art or Pop Surrealism), art influenced by pop culture that's often polychromatic with a humorous bent. The gallery had relocated in 2010 from the Carr Mill mall into the Lloyd Street location in Carrboro.
To see the Evoker's images of how the mural unfolded click here.
(photograph taken behind the building at 101 Lloyd Street in Carrboro)
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)
More than 20 years later, faded traces of Scott Stewart's Fishing Village (1993) chinoiserie-like mural remain in the alley alongside the building that houses Jade Palace restaurant in Carrboro. Stewart also painted the wall on the east corner of the building, abutting the restaurant. That mural no longer exists. It was painted over twice. Once with a controversial artwork in 2002 that featured a patchwork of art squares by local businesses. The other, still stands rich in color. It's called The Strowd Roses Community Mural designed in 2009 by Emily Weinstein and showcases the Chinese zodiac.
(photograph taken on Main Street in Carrboro)
Illustrations in Cosmopolitan, Redbook and American Weekly. Ads for Coca-Cola, Seagrams and Palmolive Soap. Murals in New York's Rockefeller Center, the Los Angeles Public Library and ... Chapel Hill's U.S. Post Office? Dean Cornwell (1887-1960), dubbed by Norman Rockwell as the "Dean of Illustrators," was an accomplished commercial illustrator whose artwork appeared in magazines, books, ads and posters across the nation. Here in Chapel Hill, his mural "Laying the Cornerstone of Old East" (completed in 1941) still stretches above the postmaster's door inside the post office on Franklin Street. The piece portrays an historic event in the construction of the University of North Carolina -- the nation's first public university chartered in 1789 and opened to students in 1795.
The mural depicts General William Richardson Davie, known as "the father of the university," directing the laying of the cornerstone of UNC's East Building (now a residence hall) on April 12, 1793. The cornerstone is a stone set in a masonry foundation which determines the position of a building. Five years later, Davie went on to serve as a governor of North Carolina (1798-1799). He is the man in the orange coat holding a trowel.
(photograph taken at U.S. Post Office, downtown Chapel Hill branch on Franklin Street)
Muralist Michael Brown created this pixelated wall in the mid-1990s with remnant paint from other projects. He encouraged volunteers to create their own color blends to add to the myriad of dizzying squares. Unlike most of his other works, Brown went abstract for this vertiginous piece. Inspired by folk art, "Quilt" is draped along the wall of Walt's Grill and can be seen from Franklin Street.
(photograph taken off of Franklin Street on S. Merritt Mill Road in Chapel Hill)
Soaring dinosaurs are what local muralist Michael Brown originally envisioned for this Chapel Hill wall. But after the town's design review board turned it down, he opted for its kindred sea turtles, believed to have roamed the earth more than 200 million years ago. Brown painted the staggering 30 x 70-foot "Sea Turtle" mural in 1993. He restored the mural in 2011 as part of the Painted Walls Project, an initiative to recondition murals that shape Chapel Hill's character. The piece is on view along the side of the parking deck at the intersection of Rosemary & Columbia streets.
(photograph taken on the corner of Rosemary & Columbia)
Alongside the wall of the bicycle store The Clean Machine, "The Girl" emits a swirl of colors dancing down the alley. Created in 2010, Chapel Hill artist Casey Robertson took about 12 hours by freehand to complete the piece. The mural is painted in an urban street style which sometimes folks misinterpret as illegal art. Robertson also painted "Arrows" (2011) located at 709 West Rosemary Street, next to Carrburritos.
(photographed at 104 West Main Street, Carrboro)
A panorama of roses weaves through the animals of the Chinese zodiac on the wall of the Jade Palace restaurant on Main Street in Carrboro. Hunt for the year you were born to discover your animal and its related traits. The Strowd Roses Community Mural (2009), designed by Emily Eve Weinstein and named after the Strowd Rose Foundation, features the 12 animals that appear on the Chinese Zodiac calendar: rat, buffalo (ox), tiger, rabbit, dragon, horse, goat, snake, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each lunar year corresponds with an animal and its attributes as denoted in the 12-year cycle. According to the Chinese, the animal ruling one's birth year has a profound influence on personality, fate and fortune.
But this blossoming beauty was not the only mural that wreathed this wall.
Weinstein's artwork replaced a controversial mural painted in 2002 that featured a patchwork of art by local businesses and individuals who purchased 2x2-foot squares for $20-$50 each (proceeds were donated to Club Nova, a Carrboro nonprofit that serves as a halfway house for emotionally challenged adults). Unfortunately, the mural came across as a sweeping billboard and did not pass the Town of Carrboro's public sign ordinance. It was subsequently rectified with the addition of the poem “I am Not a Wall” by Patrick Herron, Carrboro’s poet laureate at the time. In 2007, the updated mural was vandalized in a swathe of mint green. Two years later, Strowd Roses and the Orange County Arts Commission commissioned Weinstein to design the 14 x 60-foot piece which was painted by Volunteers for Youth.
(photographed at 103 East Main Street in Carrboro)
"Flashback" is the theme for the mural that beams alongside Chapel Hill's Mellow Mushroom restaurant. The Franklin Street mural features psychedelic images and inspiration from UNC-CH vintage yearbooks. It is the largest mural in the Mellow Mushroom collection. Each Mellow Mushroom location features artwork reflected by an owner's signature style.
(photograph taken at Mellow Mushroom on Franklin street in Chapel Hill)
Stretching the wall of the Carolina Coffee Shop (Franklin Street), these images spring from Michael Brown's mural "Parade of Humanity" (1997). The idea for the piece originated from the pageant of people who stroll through the alley to and from the University of North Carolina campus. The mural depicts Brown's friends and local curiosities. Brown has painted 19 other murals near downtown Chapel Hill. See Towering Shades of Blue and Herculean Men in Carrboro for images of his wok. The mural is located through Porthole Alley from 138 East Franklin Street to campus.
(photograph taken off of Franklin Street in Chapel Hill)
The beer mural logos were created by local artist Scott Nurkin (see "Greetings from Chapel Hill") and appear in the courtyard /alley of the legendary bar He's Not Here located at 112 1/2 W Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
(photograph taken off of Franklin Street in Chapel Hill)
Ceiling mural at the entrance of All Day Records at 112A E Main Street in Carrboro.
(photograph taken at 112A E Main Street in Carrboro)
The "Marathon" mural by Michael Brown (1994) was commissioned by owner, John Dimos, who operated the Greek restaurant that formerly resided in the building in which the painting appears. The mural depicts an ancient Greek marathon as if on a broken plate -- from the Greek tradition celebrating by breaking a plate. In 2012, Dimos, who owns Captain John's Dockside in Chatham County, funded the restoration of the mural.
The mural is located at the convergence of West Rosemary Street and East Main Street in Carrboro. Its appears on the Don Jose Tienda Mexicana.
(photograph taken in Carrboro)
Michael Brown created "The Blue Mural" (1989), his first in Chapel Hill, in pointillist style with the aid of student volunteers (Chapel Hill-Carborro School System) all using same-sized brushes. The mural depicts a night-time cityscape of Chapel Hill and and is based on Brown's memories of Franklin Street when he was a dishwasher at Ye Olde Waffle Shop. The Painted Walls Project restored the mural in 2009. "The Blue Mural " established Brown's reputation in the city and led to additional requests for murals in the area -- about 1 per year.
The mural is located behind shops/restaurants between Franklin Street and Henderson Streets and can be seen from the public parking lot between Rosemary Street and North Colombia Street.
(photograph taken in Chapel Hill)
“Greetings from Chapel Hill” (2013), which wallpapers the backside of Chapel Hill's legendary bar He's Not Here, was created by local artist Scott Nurkin. The painting depicts a 1941 postcard by German illustrator Curt Teich. Nurkin, a UNC Alumnus (2000) and Charlotte native, also painted more than half a dozen murals inside the bar among others seen throughout town. He is perhaps best known for creating 19 paintings of musicians native to North Carolina -- including Nina Simone, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk – that peppered the walls of the former Chapel Hill institution, Pepper’s Pizza, which resided on Franklin Street and closed in 2013. Those paintings are now on display at the School of Music in Hill Hall on the University of North Carolina's campus.
"Greetings from Chapel Hill" is located located behind He's Not Here at 112 1/2 W Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. It can be seen from the parking lot on Rosemary Street.
(photograph taken in Chapel Hill)