I was first contacted by Buddy’s Pizza for a mural at their Shelby Township location. Buddy’s Pizza is an obsession for most people who have tried their amazing square pizza. Their original location was in Detroit, Michigan and that’s the one everyone thinks of when they remember their first time enjoying a Buddy’s deep dish pizza. The Detroit location is not very photogenic. It took me quite a while to figure out how to illustrate it. They really do have Bocce Ball courts there, but they are actually in the back of the building. I took a little artistic license by moving them to the front so that I could add some colorful Italians in the foreground.
The Shelby location had a giant brick wall. If you’ve ever painted on brick, you know it’s impossible to get any detail on it without smoothing it out first with a clear gel. I bypassed all that nasty prep work by painting on a very thin fiber cloth and gluing the cloth to the brick with an adhesive that shrinks slightly as it dries. The shrinking pulls the cloth into the seams of the brick to make it look like it was painted right on the surface. To enhance the effect, I painted on the actual bricks on the perimeter of the painting, feathering the color out.
About a year later, Buddy’s opened their Ann Arbor location and asked me to do the same mural again at the new location. Because I don’t like doing the same thing twice, I switched it up a bit by using the existing wall color as the mural background. It brought a really wonderful warmth to the painting.