Mr. Dynamite, a new mural depicting James Brown at 1437 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine, was dedicated earlier this fall. We spoke to lead artist Jenny Ustick on how she got it on the good foot.
“It was a music street, and ArtWorks wanted something different than what had been done with the other murals—something more modern, more energetic.”
“It had been a while since I painted on a wall from the late 1800s. [It] had seen some better days. You’ve got all these bumps and lumps and gaps and holes.”
“It’s a bit like a glorified paint by number. Me and the 12 apprentices had it all mapped out—this area is in this color, fill it in and move on.”
“I looked at a few images of James Brown, particularly from the time he was recording for King Records in Cincinnati, and found one that showed him on fire.”
“There’s something difficult and a little funky about the colors, and I thought that’s absolutely perfect. He had amazing clarity of voice, but boy he could make it gritty.”
“Oh my goodness, those teeth were probably the biggest topic of discussion in the final weeks, to get them just right. The hair came together pretty easily.”