Beth Meadows

Mural, Mural, On the Wall

Beth MeadowsComment

When you're an artist and people want to talk to you about promoting community/unity/revitalization through art, an inevitable idea that comes to mind is, "Let's make a community mural!"

A few murals have popped up in Knoxville over the past few years, some I like, some... not so much. Running the Salvage Shop with its large blank exterior wall makes people hum with the excitement about the potential. I am halfway excited and halfway very nervous.

I'm learning to redefine the word "mural" in my brain, for when someone says "mural" to me, I assume they mean like the one they paint in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit to revitalize the neighborhood. (I wish I could find a picture of this; I cannot.)

I might be making this up, but this is what I see: Different colored children hand in hand around a world. It goes on from there with floating images of rainbows and peace signs covering the whole wall with every color straight out of the tube. 

What's strange is, this thing that's supposed to make me feel united and at peace with my fellow man really just makes me feel agitated. 

What could be the cure for my fear of murals? Thinking more on these things: Using only a few colors. Mixing colors so they aren't right out of the tube. Hand-lettering. High graphics. Detailed minimalism. Good design. Focused subject matter.

I admit it. I've made one or two bad murals in the past, and I'm sorry. But I'll be ready next time if the opportunity should present itself. This is my vow to you, public arts enthusiast.