This is at the corner of Somerset and Bank. I wanted to document the mural in case the building gets torn down. I don’t know anything about it, such as who designed it and why. I wish I did.
Updated a little later: I’ve learned that the mural was painted in 1991 by American artist Robert Dafford. Here is his website: http://www.robertdaffordmurals.com
Later still: I emailed Robert Dafford to advise him that the building was set to be demolished. Here is his reply:
Hi Robin Nice to hear from you. Thanks for the update. Its sad, but Ive seen it enough times to just be sad, not outraged. Its too bad there isnt some way to save it, but thats the way it goes sometimes. I have a few pictures of the mural and some good memories. Wish I get there in time to see it go. I have some photos of other buildings with my murals on them being demolished, could you take some for me? Or if its too emotional for you to stand around and watch, could you get someone else to shoot it? Digital is better, but film’s fine. Its easier to send me the digital. This would go into my collection to send to mural organizations who want to try to save worthy paintings from destruction. Thank you. Robert
Here’s the whole thing.
Before I set out to look at it closely, I had the idea that it depicted people lined up waiting for a train at a station. But there aren’t any tracks. Now I see that the people are dressed up and enjoying a nice day on Somerset Street, and if they seem to be peering expectantly at something, perhaps it’s because we have set up an old-fashioned camera on a tripod and we are pointing it at them. But they are focused on the figures in the foreground on the right.
Starting with the distant figures on the left, we see a man with a trumpet and a person with a big hat and a cane. Behind them is the very mural in which they appear. How post-modern! And so the scene is set: we are on the south side of Somerset, looking west toward Bank.
Here is the trumpet player again. We also see a woman sitting on a bench, a man tipping his bowler hat, and a kneeling gardener.
The woman in the green dress introduces the figures in the foreground: Her top-hatted companion, and a man in a bowler hat with a copy of the Free Press.
The foreground couple. The woman is smiling fondly.
And what are they looking at? Their kids, of course. The little girl is listening raptly to a guitar player, but her job is to hold the bubble soap for her brother.
The focal point for the whole scene is the very post-modern guitar player. Using the bottom of the picture frame as a seat, he is partly in the world of the picture and partly in ours. He bridges the two worlds and calls us in.
Behind the guitar player is a woman or girl with a basket of flowers. I think she looks like Ophelia from Hamlet, and if that is so, it means that all the figures at the borderline between our world and the world of the picture are artists, children, and mad people: the natural keepers of the realm of imagination.
That’s it. I like it a lot. I hope it doesn’t get turned to rubble in the next few days.