Richmond has joined the list of cities nationwide that are "feeling the Bern" -- at least through a huge mural devoted to the progressive Democratic presidential candidate.
Veteran local artist Mickael Broth spent today painting a towering image of Bernie Sanders moshing (or skanking, according to some observers) next to the phrase "Feel the Bern." The mural of the 74-year-old, which he's calling "Bernie Slamders," went up at 3300 W. Broad St. across from CBS-6, on the old Sea Dream leather building owned by David Morrison.
Broth says the youthful image was inspired by an old logo associated with Los Angeles punk band, the Circle Jerks. It's a fitting celebratory dance on a day when Sanders won the state of Wisconsin, adding to his momentum.
Morrison started the Billboard Art Project almost a decade ago and had recently been looking for an image for the outside of his building, according to Broth. The building is being renovated to become a center for creative professionals.
"We've known each other for a long time. He's a big supporter of the arts," the artist says. "Last weekend he contacted me and asked if I would want to paint a Bernie Sanders image on the building. I said, 'absolutely.'"
Broth counts himself a huge fan of Sanders and says the image inspired by the Circle Jerks' skank man (originally created by female cartoonist Shawn Kerri back in the '80s) stresses the energy and revolutionary aspect of Sanders' grassroots campaign.
"It's fun, it's quirky and draws on the punk-rock ethos," Broth says. "I think a lot of people out there are feeling the Bern. He seems to have a real chance and if nothing else, is unable to be marginalized. It's been interesting to watch the way both parties have tried to prevent two people [the other being Republican candidate Donald Trump] from being involved, and it's blown up in their faces."
Fellow local artist Hamilton Glass also started working on another, more realistic, Sanders mural on the front side of the building that faces Broad. The artist posted a photo on Facebook earlier this evening, after two hours of work today.
Broth says he's mostly done personal artwork in the past that might be considered political.
"I think we live in a culture that is far less accepting of that kind of expression in public," he says. "But you see it around the world and I would love to see more of it here . . . We have so much public art in the city and so little of it has anything real to say."
Broth didn't seek permission from the original artist, but says the templates for both the murals are being made freely available for others to use. You can learn more at the Facebook page, Murals for Bernie, or check updates on his site at thenightowlwashere.com.
The Facebook page says "the images should not in anyway be re-created for the purposes of making a profit and the artists should be credited for their work."
Broth says he hopes his raging Bernie Slamders will stay up at least through the general election.
"Hopefully, until he wins," he adds.