To mural or not to mural, that is the question

Recently, a local business was in the news paper for creating a mural on the side of a building they are using. I would assume they had the building owner’s permission. This being said, they went and put a mural based on an actor from a film, Scarface and will be adding Italian themed foods. It sounds innocent enough. However, murals need permits, according to the article in the paper. I’m assuming all business signs and murals need to be approved by the city. If a business doesn’t know about this, I assume they would be able to go and get the proper permit and continue on with their business. What makes me wonder, however, is if this isn’t a matter of aesthetics. Does the business in question have to fit the decor or theme of the surrounding businesses? I remember the Dickey’s chain that was there and they used the side of the building with a huge vintage themed poster. No one complained. Maybe they just got a permit or maybe it looked a certain way and was allowed. In other words, aesthetics. What does aesthetics mean? Aesthetics is a Greek word and means “a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty, especially in art.” However, we have a downtown, like many cities do, with a variety of businesses. Should a business look like it’s neighbor? Should it try to stand out to attract customers? Aesthetically, there isn’t anything wrong with a business adding a mural, in fact, it adds to the visual interest and creates a vibe that goes with big cities. If you go to Pittsburgh, there are many murals and these attract people. If a business is going to survive, you need to have something artistic to draw people to.

Now, I know some people are going to say, but it’s a mafia theme. This could be interpreted as violent and negative especially in the portrayal of Italian Americans. However, it is a theme that is based on a movie. It’s always touchy to include fairly violent imagery, especially in this day and age. I would be more concerned using a popular movie image rather than the mafia theme, for copyright issues. So, there are questions as to what is it the restaurant wants to convey. Maybe a less controversial subject matter, like the shape of Italy with pizza might be less edgy or a mascot of some sort that is a bit more light hearted to convey your brand.

Personally, I would like to see the finished mural as it’s supposed to include Italian food like pizza. This might make the difference in softening the imagery a little and making it truly unique. Ideally, maybe going to the public, as well as to the city, would have been a good way to get feedback and marketing for your business. Aesthetically, it could be unique adding an eclectic mural. I like different ideas and even if something isn’t my cup of tea, I’d give art a chance.


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