Thursday, November 13, 2014

Urban LIFT Uptown Mural at Roxie's

By Alex Clementi

A new addition has arrived in the Uptown neighborhood. With the help of the UrbanArt Commission, artist Carl Scott has recently completed a mural installation on the side of Roxie’s Grocery, a prominent landmark of the Uptown area located on North 3rd Street. The mural, as Scott explains, depicts the Uptown community in the springtime. According to Scott, it also represents not only Uptown, but all of Memphis. He noted how “people come from all over to see Memphis and visit Miss Roxie’s—they love the food here.” Scott also chose to feature buildings that commonly symbolize the Uptown neighborhood; a few of these places include Cozy Corner, Brian’s Grocery, and the recent Habitat for Humanity housing installations. The mural spans the side of the building, and from afar, it appears as if the mural is designed very simply. Take a few steps closer, and one will notice the incredible amount of detail on the buildings, trees, and even the streetcar in the bottom right hand corner of the wall.  When asked about the production of the mural, Scott reported that the detail is a result of the process he used to paint the buildings. He began the process by going out into the community and taking photographs of the buildings he was planning to paint. He then compiled these images into a collage type of layout in his studio. Once he had the proper arrangement, he used the photographs as guides to paint the images of the buildings onto large pieces of canvas. Scott explained that he would work between painting the buildings in his studio and painting the backdrop at Roxie’s. When the paintings of the buildings and the backdrop were complete, Scott then used an extremely strong adhesive to glue the canvas paintings to the wall, and he worked to blend them into the background. The resulting mural is an incredible depiction of the Uptown neighborhood.

Scott also commented on how the Uptown community has greatly supported him through the process of installing the mural. He noted that people had watched him paint the mural and commented on how it “makes the whole area look better.” The mural is a valuable source of conversation—he also noted that he had witnessed people gather around the mural and discuss their favorite memories from the locations on the mural. When asked to reflect on the mural, Scott explained “when I look at it, it makes me feel good, and that's what I want people to take away from it too.” It appears as if Scott’s hopes are becoming a reality. 

 This project was made possible by the Habitat for Humanity, Wells Fargo, and UrbanArt Commission.

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