You can find a lot of interesting characters on Broadway, and this past week Mutiny Information Cafe added a few more. Painted on the store's previously blank north wall is a mural complete with flying monkeys, alcoholic authors, a Westword Best of Denver cow and legendary blues guitarists -- all recognizable to fans of the products sold on the other side of the store's walls, and all thanks to local artists Patrick McGirr and Joshua Finley.
For nearly two weeks, McGirr and Finley withstood the fickle fall weather to complete their project, working on it between eight and thirteen hours a day. But according to Finley, that wasn't the most difficult part of the process.
"Coming up with the concept was the hardest part," Finley says. "We had lots of ideas we had to narrow down. We asked all the owners what characters they wanted -- one wanted Pennywise from IT, one wanted Hunter S. Thompson, one wanted [Charles] Bukowski."
After the concept was firmly in place, then came the fun part: Painting. Inside each letter of "Mutiny," McGirr and Finley stuck with a single theme. So the "M" consists of fictional characters in classic novels. The "U" harbors wacky characters from children's books. Inside the "T" are musicians, including Hank Williams and Robert Johnson. The "I" is a tribute to Broadway, complete with a red shoe near the base of the letter in honor of the giant red stiletto in front of True Love, with the Westword cow in the middle. The "N" is dedicated to comic-book characters, while the "Y" is reserved for a few of the store owners' favorite authors.
It was one of those owners, Jim Norris, who convinced McGirr and Finley to give some life to the storefront over a beer at his establishment just down the road, 3 Kings Tavern. Norris says Mutiny has had a "spike in business over the last two weeks, where people see the mural outside, come inside to ask about it and end up buying something."
For McGirr, an artist who already spends his free time painting with underprivileged children and troubled gang members, it's all about bringing more art to more people.
"The funnest part was seeing the neighborhood's reaction," McGirr says. "The businesses have been cool, meeting all the people has been cool. Seeing their reaction is the best part."
And his painting partner agrees.
"We have people stop and talk to us who've lived here for thirty years," Finley says. "They'll stop, and look and say, 'This is badass!'"
Just as mutiny should be!
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Keep reading for an up-close view of each letter in Mutiny Information Cafe's new mural.