Photo: William Hurst
Stephanie Olson - June 2018
Much like The Current mural, the unnamed interior mural at Corktown Deli & Brews was a fast-track project. Unlike The Current, the job was a surprise to the artist who in one conversation found herself creating four walls full of color.
Stephanie Olson was doing decorative airbrushing on cakes at the Duluth Grill family of restaurants when Corktown was being built. Owner Tom Hanson knew she had a background doing aircraft painting as he looked at the blank walls in the back hallway. He approached Olson with the request, “I want these covered.” He told her she could paint whatever she wanted so long as the overall theme was about coming together and positivity.
Olson had never done a mural or art in this way before, but she didn’t flinch at the challenge. “You’re going to learn alot about yourself by doing something you’re scared of, how else would you know what your limits are?” She immediately headed to Menard’s for spray paint, knowing that would be the best start for the rusty (or rustic depending on your point of view) corrugated metal surface.
Over the following two weeks, she laid down a base coat to level out the color for her images of a sunny day with the lift bridge and ship on one side and lightning with a ship on the other. Although the background was done with spray paint, details like the ship that bears her name were done by hand. Olson then filled the areas outside of the more literal images with “empowering words for anyone who walks by.”
The odd layout of the space was a challenge that Olson enjoyed. She said, “I like that nothing was the same. I got to work over doors and around other architecture.” However, the tight space was not great for dissipating the strong smell of spray paint. Olson was asked to close the door to the hallway where she was working until she started working overnight so other tradespeople could work without being overcome by fumes.
Unless you know the art is there, you may not imagine this hidden gem of inspired creativity lives at Corktown. With the street art vibe and positive messaging, it is worth taking a look. Olson now applies her art skills as the Owner and Lead Designer of Statt Wraps in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
Photos: William Hurst
Corktown Deli & Brews, 1906 W Superior St (indoor mural in the rear of Corktown Deli)