Kentucky Center mural restoration underway

Kentucky Center mural artist comes back to his roots
Mario Muller (Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
Mario Muller (Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
Muller enlisted some help to complete the restoration. (Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
Muller enlisted some help to complete the restoration. (Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Todd Hoyer/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Sometimes, public art becomes so much a part of the landscape you could forget it's there. But one work that many of us have passed at a busy downtown landmark, might catch your eye now that the artist is back "re-drawing" his crowds.

Mario Muller designed a mural on the ground level entrance and drive-thru ticket window of the Kentucky Center in 1993.

"Primary to both of our focuses was making the space more inviting," Muller said of his initial talks with the center. "What makes it more inviting than to have images of other human beings?"

He covered the walls with men and women for all seasons, spread across 22 panels and more than 250 feet.

"There are elements of street life. Garbage cans, boom boxes, taxicabs," Muller explained. "It is a portrait of us, even though it's not specifically us."

Seen from a distance, they could be life-size photographs: silhouettes, shadows, without faces.

"But you understand the body language, the certain gait of somebody. You might easily be able to project yourself: Oh, that's me-or I know that person," he said.

In order to keep his work a vital part of our cityscape, though, it needed a fresh coat. The restoration could take 200 hours to complete in total.

"It showed its age. A 21-year-old mural should be dirty and should be a little banged up," he said. "Since [this area] literally is a drive-thru, it was hit a couple of times by cars, and scratched."

Muller doesn't second-guess what he created 21 years ago, but as an artist grows, so does his vision.

"I think I might have handled the composition differently, the rhythms differently," he explained. "It would reflect the artist that I am now."

No matter, Muller is proud of his work and glad to be back in the city which he says gave him his start as an artist. Working in a public space means passerby can not only watch the progress, but can interact with man behind the mural.

"Louisville was like no other experience. And when I come back here, I feel very much a part of this community."

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