The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe by Jason Snell

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe by Jason Snell

Every year, Cincinnati’s ArtWorks employs teens and professional artists to create murals and other community-based works of public art. Out of every annual batch, I always have a favorite, and The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe stands out as the especially awesome mural from 2014.

Designed by Jason Snell and painted on the side of 1215 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine, the mural celebrates German immigrant and local resident Henry Holtgrewe, once considered the world’s strongest man. Here he’s peeking out from behind the scaffolding before the mural was completed:

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe by Jason Snell

I’ve mentioned before that the shape and edges of a mural make a huge difference to me. This one is comprised of several rectangular panels on an odd-shaped wall that informs the composition and organization of information:

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe by Jason Snell

The bold, ornate graphics recall circus posters and vintage advertising:

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe by Jason Snell

This mural invites an up-close look with tidbits about Holtgrewe’s life rendered in blackletter:

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe by Jason Snell

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe by Jason Snell

Holtgrewe’s feats of strength are illustrated, including lifting the entire Reds baseball team on his back:

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe by Jason Snell

Pretty cool, right?

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