It was the summer of 2011 and I was coming over the Portland bridge into Middletown, CT right before Eli Cannon’s.
As I stopped at a stop light at the end of Main St., I noticed a 3 story building with great potential for a mural. First off, it’s located at a stop light at one of the busiest intersections in town, which means the amount of eyes on it has to be in the thousands everyday. Second, I was having one of those moments where I wanted to paint something that excited me. Not that my last couple project weren’t fun, it was just that they did not have that “wow” factor that gets me excited as an artist. It had also been a couple of years since I painted two 12 story buildings in Brooklyn, NY, which was one of the most physically difficult yet satisfying projects I had ever completed. Also at this time, I was preparing to paint a large mural live at one of the home shows that participate in to promote my business. At the show, painting a large mural live quickly gains everybody’s attention. It works out well as it tends to gather a crowd, but it’s only one weekend and then the show’s over.
So, sitting in my car, looking at this brick wall that lends itself to a mural, I decided to paint a mural on it. Now you might be thinking, “How arrogant!” and you might be right, but I am a believer in failing forward. The name on the front of the building happened to be Eli Cannon’s, which is a really popular bar in Middletown. I was sure it was going to be tough to nail down the owner for approval on this one. Luckily enough, I was able to get a partial approval on the first visit so I was off to create a sketch of what I wanted to do.
Actually, let me slow down a bit because I want you to understand the awkward situation I tend to create when I do a walk- in pitch on a commercial establishment. Once I find the person of interest, .e. the owner, I usually start off with something that is only as subtle as I can do. Something like, “Hi, I am Pat Ganino and I want to paint a mural on your building.” Anyone who knows me knows I speak kind of fast so what comes out typically sounds like, “Hi, I’m Paganino and I want to paint a mural on your building.” The return look is typically one of confusion, probably because I usually add a long pause after I blurt out my speedy statement. In this situation, like I was saying earlier, I was feeling kind of good and charitable so I did something I don’t typically do. I added, “If you let me paint whatever I want and promote the heck out of me, it will cost you nothing.”
Well shhhhheet, did he say FREE? “Yep, I did!” I then proceeded to show off my portfolio and a few minutes later it seemed we came to a fair agreement. With that said, I had put a deadline of 4 days to complete this mural and if it were not for a horrible storm (remember Irene?) I think I would have finished within that timeline. Nonetheless, what I did find out is that this project, The Human Ladder, was totally worth it and Eli Cannon’s owner, the manager, and the employees deserve the high praise that they get in Middletown, CT. There was a celebration on the 22nd of September at Eli Cannon’s where t-shirts were sold commemorating the mural. You can currently purchase these shirts from Eli’s newest endeavor across the street, Eli Cannon’s Trading Post. Enough of me blabbering on, I hope you enjoy this mural I created and if you are ever in town please check it out!
Day 5 Finale