Downtown Cincinnati Supergraphic

Downtown Cincinnati Supergraphic

On College just off West 7th St. in downtown Cincinnati is this faded, though still vivid, 1970s supergraphic. I think it was created as part of the same Carl Solway-led project that spawned the “eyes” mural behind the Cincinnati Enquirer building.

Downtown Cincinnati Supergraphic

Downtown Cincinnati Supergraphic

Downtown Cincinnati Supergraphic

If anyone has more information about these murals, please share.


20 thoughts on “Downtown Cincinnati Supergraphic

  1. Allegro (Urban Walls: Cincinnati) 1971
    Barron Krody (b. 1936)

    Urban Walls, one of the largest and most extensive public art projects undertaken in Cincinnati, was conceived and organized by Carl Solway and Jack Boulton. Ten Cincinnati artists and designers were invited to created monumental paintings to mask the scars left by urban renewal in the late 1960’s. The visual impact of these walls added a sense of place and spirit to the declining center of the city. The project was managed by Solway’s art gallery and funded through private and government sources. The only surviving wall painting is Allegro by Krody, whose award-winning graphic design was used on the poster to announce Urban Walls: Cincinnati project.

  2. Oh, I should mention where I got the info up in my previous comment.

    A while back there was a brochure for Public Art in Cincinnati. I obtained permission from the authors and went out and took photos to make my very first website. (This was like, um, 1996).

    The design is VERY AWFUL (dated), but I’ve re-posted the archived site for your perusal: A Guide to Public Art in Cincinnati.

  3. The first apartment I lived in Cincinnati I had a view of this mural, it was a steep angle but I could see it. Its not much, but it still thrills me to walk by and remember those first months here.

  4. I remember the Urban Walls murals well — I moved here in 1978 and they were still new and fresh. Most of them had a presence and a sense of conviction that the newer murals going up all around Cincinnati don’t, I’m sorry to say.

    I have a vague memory of there being a coffee table book documenting Urban Walls project.

  5. Wow, Chris, thanks for sharing that site, dated interface be damned. It’s great to have one source of information about downtown’s various public art pieces. So, was I wrong in thinking that the “eyes” mural off 4th St. was part of the Urban Walls project? I notice that it’s not on your map at all.

    Blue Ash Mom, I’m curious about your “sense of conviction” comment. What makes this mural have more conviction than a more recently designed one?

  6. Sorry it took so long to get back here. I don’t know if I could put that in words. It’s just the sense that those murals are each one specific artist’s statement and vision. Most of The ArtWorks murals are usually too cute and look too much like the result of a committee.

    I was looking at the one across from What’s for Dinner earlier today. It looked like a freshman design assignment (though a very well done one). The one of Jim Tarbell? Too ingratiating (and I like Jim as much as the next person, but let’s remember the moral of Pete Rose Way). The people looking out of the window on Central Parkway? Again, cute, but it doesn’t stick to your ribs. And in its trompe l’oeiliness, it seems in competition with the Cincinnatus down the street by I-forgot-his-name-too-lazy-to-google (watching that mural go up is a very happy memory of mine. I went there everyday at lunch and the crowd was a wonderful mix of businessmen and homelessmen).

    I hate not liking most of the ArtWorks murals, because it’s a really great concept of an organization. Or maybe I’m turning into an old crank.

  7. Blue Ash Mom, I think every ArtWorks mural undergoes a community-based engagement process so, in a sense, a mural is not so much about an artist’s singular vision, but about a community’s consensus. My guess is that these 1970s murals did not undergo such a process [but I don’t actually know this].

    I completely agree about the Tarbell mural. The US Postal Service only commemorates the deceased, and that makes sense to me.

    The trompe l’oeil mural on Central Parkway would be great if its scale were in line with the building. Then, I think it would be a fine down-the-street companion to the Cincinnatus mural.

    But, just to play Devil’s Advocate, I’ve seen faded 1970s supergraphics in the downtown areas of other cities. This kind of singular, candy-colored, hard-edged geometric form was a fad and, although I love it, it does seem like a generic artifact of an era. Does the above form relate to its site? I don’t see that.

  8. Students from the college of DAAP (University of Cincinnati) created motion narratives that detail the creative efforts of six of the designers and their murals. A website for their projects launches June 2, 2011.

    The narratives include:
    – ALLEGO by Barron Krody
    – MABLEY & CAREW BUILDING by Gordon Salchow
    – PARKADE GARAGE by Joe Bottoni
    – THE KISSING COUPLE by Tom Smith
    – EYES by Preston McClanahan
    – KOSHERILLA by Tom Strohmaier

    The videos will also be on (search “Urban Walls”)

  9. Oh, wow, I can’t wait to check out this project!

    By the way, the Cincinnati Room at the public library downtown has a copy of the large-format portfolio of all the screenprints of the mural designs. It’s quite a sight to see in person.

  10. I must’ve missed this every trip to downtown that I’ve taken. I’ll be sure to check it out next time. Thanks!

    Is there a central resource documenting all the urban art in downtown?

  11. You mean, other than this site? Nothing that I know of.

    My advice is to look up, look down, and stick to the alleys whenever possible. That’s how I come across a lot of interesting stuff around here — public art, ghost signs, what have you. Further down this alley is a really awesome ghost sign for Burger Chef, on the back side of the beautiful Lyric Piano Co. building.

  12. It’s just a commercial sign or ad for an obsolete business. Technically, if a place just closed but the sign is still up, that would be a ghost sign. Really, though, it should be something old and weathered, referencing a long-ago business. At least that’s what I usually focus on.

  13. Since you mentioned a guide to downtown public art, maybe I’ll create one of those Google Maps linked to my blog posts. That would inspire me to finally document some of the art that I haven’t because I don’t really care for it, for the sake of being comprehensive.

  14. Pingback: Kichler’s Draperie’s Ghost Sign in Cincinnati | Visualingual

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