Meet the new murals

In the last two weeks of July, new murals have gone up on the main thoroughfares of north and West Asheville.

Standard Pizza on Haywood Road, West Asheville
On July 17, Asheville artist and musician Nigel Esser completed a mural at Standard Pizza on Haywood Road. Esser began painting the L-shaped walls of the patio only a week before, on July 10, after arranging the project with owner Jim Coleman. “He pretty much gave me creative license,” Esser told Xpress. The colors seen in the rusty orange arrows and the powdery pink, yet sickly rabbit-like creature. They have a retro appearance, similar to ‘70s-era polyester couches.

Esser says the color choice came from a lack of sleep. “I had been losing sleep every night for a while, so every time I woke up, I decided to write down a color and use it later.”

Standard Pizza photos by Max Cooper

Larchmont bus shelter, north Asheville
As part of building the new Larchmont Apartments near the post office on Merrimon Avenue, Mountain Housing Opportunities constructed a new, sheltered bus stop across the street, in front of Swannanoa Cleaners at 712 Merrimon Ave. Rather than installing typical plexiglass for the shelter, which yellows with the passing of time and elemental exposure, MHO contacted muralist Ian Wilkinson to cover them with a mural.

Wilkinson had worked with the affordable-housing organization in the past, namely on the historical portraits displayed at the corner of Market and Eagle streets on a building MHO acquired. (The portraits have since been removed due to constrution work.)

With help from a group of area children coordinated through Grace Covenant Church, also in the neighborhood, he and the kids set to painting two landscape scenes: spring and fall. Spring is on the inside, while the fall scenery wraps around the exterior. Like most of the murals Wilkinson has worked on, with or without groups, the two works were painted on fabric before being adhered to the plexiglass panels.

“Painting the mural was the easy part.” Wilkinson says. “Once you get 30 kids together, they’re like a 60-arm mural machine.” The harder part was waiting on the physical construction. The steel had to be fabricated, the concrete poured and all the furnishings completely in place before the plexiglass panels could be painted and installed.

Larchmont mural images by Ian Wilkinson

About Kyle Sherard
Book lover, arts reporter, passerby…..

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