Monster Mural Unveiled in East Liverpool

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The latest in a series of murals being painted in the city’s downtown was officially unveiled during a ribbon cutting Thursday, although the unusual Walnut Street painting had attracted attention for the past two weeks as it came to fruition.

Christened “The Grendel Club Ball” by local artist Craig Wetzel, the colorful mural features 20 creatures designed by area students in grades K-3 through a contest suggested by the artist.

From the 140 submissions received, Wetzel selected the winners based on a variety of criteria, including subject matter, size, color and how the monsters fit into the composition he envisioned.

Over 14 days, a total of 70 hours, the artist wielded not only his paint brush but an on-going social media barrage of humorous updates about his work, including a daily report on a cabbage someone left at the site, which he quickly took under his wing, setting it in a lawn chair and dressing it in a hat.

The children’s creations went up on a wall of the Quality Stamp Co. building, which was prepared by Joey Hoyt of ProVision Painting with a dark blue background. Wetzel used ordinary house paint in a wide range of colors to bring the monsters to life.

From a huge sandwich with a hungry mouth tomatoes for eyes and a blueberry monster to a clock face with horns and a gray-haired, multi-fanged female, the monsters were painted by Wetzel much as the young artists created them, although he did adjust the colors of some, especially those drawn in black and white.

“They’re all good. There are none of them I don’t like,” Wetzel said, admitting his favorite, however, is the Ohio River Monster, which features long-necked ducks as hair and what appears to be fins up and down her body.

Mural artist Craig Wetzel at work in downtown East Liverpool.

“I thought that was the most imaginative, and I love the duck hair,” Wetzel mused.

Wetzel included in the mural his whimsical trademark: a wooden post on which his friend Pinecone Pete inconspicuously sits.

An appreciative crowd gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Mayor Greg Bricker, who said funding for the mural came from a grant from the East Liverpool Women’s Auxiliary Club, Heritage Thermal Services and Columbiana County Land Bank.

Bricker also credited Holt and ProVision Painting for preparing the building and the building’s owner for allowing Wetzel to use it as his canvas.

Wetzel is well known locally for his art, which will be featured during a show in December at the Venture Gallery downtown.

Much of his work features historical buildings, but he said he decided to venture away from his usual style with this mural.

“I wanted to do this for the kids. I think I’m going to continue to do children’s murals. It’s about time I painted the way I act,” he said with just a hint of a smile.

Wetzel said

while it is common to use a UV inhibitor coating on such murals, he does not see the need for this one, since the wall on which it was painted does not receive any direct sunlight and the $400 per gallon price would be cost-prohibitive.

The mural can be seen at 432 Walnut St.

Other murals recently completed can be seen on Bradshaw Avenue, Sixth Street at Bricker’s Cafeteria and Broadway at the Museum of Ceramics, with others currently being painted at the Elks Lodge and the highway underpass on Broadway.

Pictured at top: East Liverpool Mayor Greg Bricker (left, rear) and local artist Craig Wetzel pose with the students whose artistic creations were adapted by Wetzel for a monster mural on Walnut Street in downtown East Liverpool.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.