Anthony Bourdain Mural at The Loft in Downtown Flint Already Looks Amazing
A new mural being painted above The Loft in Downtown Flint featuring the late Anthony Bourdain is currently in the works, but is already quite impressive looking.
Anthony Bourdain was a lot of things -- celebrity chef, TV host, travel documentarian, author, explorer of parts unknown, and just a downright loveable personality. He had that unidentifiable spark that just made you think, "I'd really love to have a beer with that guy." Much like a Dave Grohl or Keanu Reeves, he was one of those salt of the Earth, larger-than-life, Zen-like figures that people find themselves inexplicably drawn to, as if at their core they have some sort of spiritual magnet.
That's why it was such a shock when we lost Bourdain to suicide last summer. The fact that he had what many consider to be the perfect job -- traveling the world, trying different foods, drinking beer, and experiencing the culture -- underlines the fact that depression is an incredibly difficult battle no matter how successful you are.
Despite the tragic end to his story, he endures as an inspirational figure to many. That's why it's so amazing to see him memorialized so prominently and in such a respectful way right here in Downtown Flint.
Owners of The Loft, Rodney Ott and Jessica Williams commissioned Local artist Krystal Cooke to transform the front of the building into a vibrant tribute to the beloved figure. The mural bears a likeness of Bourdain's face, as well as two roses and the following quote from the late chef:
You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.
~ Anthony Bourdain
In regards to the choice of subject for the mural, Ott said, "When planning my Murals I tried to represent people or things that made an impact in my life! Anthony Bourdain when it’s finished I hope you're smiling down," in a Facebook post. His wife Jessica, who also shares a deep affinity for Bourdain, chose the quote that is on the mural. Ott also shared the following statement on the mural with us:
Anthony was you and he was myself. He was someone we all could relate to. He’s inspired my wife an I to live our life to the fullest. He was a guy would have loved Flint an I know he would have loved to have a beer at The Loft and chop it up with the locals! We just wanted to honor him.
He also reached out to CNN to explain "the Flint struggle and the human condition," and its relation to the city's love for Bourdain. "Well they responded," he continued, "excited to see the finished product. Flint may go national for a positive reason in coming weeks! It’s tear-worthy already."
We also reached out to Krystal Cooke, the artist behind the mural, who shared some background on both the project and her artistry:
I am new to doing murals and my first mural was done on the back of The Loft. Rodney really blessed me with the opportunity to begin my mural portfolio. His trust in me was really a gift. After I finished the back of The Loft, Rodney threw the idea to do the front. I was of course excited for another opportunity to practice my newfound passion for large scale murals. Drawing and painting people has always interested me, even as a young girl. So when Rodney told me he wanted to do a portrait of Anthony Bourdain, I was so stoked!
This is my second mural and I just picked up spray painting as a medium about 2.5 months ago. I thought doing murals was something I could never do... or even wrap my head around. My initial inspiration came from one of the traveling artists who was apart of the Flint Public Art Project. I sat and watched for hours, observing and gaining as much knowledge as I could. So as for the Anthony Bourdain mural, it was Rodney’s idea, and Anthony has been a big inspiration to him. I chose the roses because Anthony Bourdain was born in New York and the New York State flower is the Rose.
She also explained that Rodney's vision was to "share his inspiration and his love for culture, the human condition, and love for life." I personally think the mural conveys that sentiment beautifully.
Flint has already had an influx of beautiful murals thanks to the Flint Public Art Project, which is close to reaching its goal of 50 new murals completed by this fall. While the Bourdain mural was funded by The Loft owners themselves and is not a part of that project, they both work to achieve the same goal -- the overall beautification of Flint through inspiring works of art. Despite all of the amazing new artwork on display around town, I think in a lot of locals will have a new favorite mural next week.