Nurkin paints the Steel String mural

Out with the old, in with the new and Scott Nurkin, owner of Bona Fide Mural Company, is there. In the beginning of one week he began plans to auction or sell his 18 piece collection of paintings representing famous North Carolina born musicians that once hung in the now closed Pepper’s Pizza, a collection as artistically diverse as the genre each performer represents. By the middle of the same week I caught him priming a brick wall for a mural at the Steel String Brewery set to open mid-April. Since 2004, Bona Fide has created murals all over the state and not just for purveyors of the college diet- pizza and beer. No one can miss his large scale mural, for example, when visiting the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher; it stretches 80 feet. And for those 800 or so people who live in Vass, NC, they most certainly know Nurkin’s work there, a series of murals on the exterior of NC Feed and Seed. And as if that isn’t enough, followers of the local music scene will recognize Nurkin as the drummer for Birds of Avalon and the lesser known (no Wiki page yet) Dynamite Brothers.

The back wall of Bona Fide’s office, a mural by Nurkin

Needless to say, he gets around, paintbrush or drumstick in hand, creating artful ambience. After graduating with a BFA from UNC, and a stay in Florence, Italy to study classical painting, Nurkin worked as an assistant/ apprentice to local muralist, Michael Brown, whose artwork pretty much covers all of downtown Chapel Hill (a bit I covered about Brown’s mural at the Chatham Library is in this post). Nurkin landed the apprenticeship during his senior year at UNC when he raised his hand to the question, “Who in this class wants to be a professional artist?” Surprisingly he was one of the few students to answer yes.

Plans for the Steel String mural by Nurkin

For the Steel String mural, Nurkin was asked to do something proletarian meets beer and bluegrass. He studied bolshevik posters for inspiration, deciding on a pallette of orange that is no less vibrant than red; it takes several coats to cover the surface. In the center of the mural a Carhartt-cald fellow holds a pint in one hand while the other hand gestures an Uncle Sam command to “Enjoy this brew.” To the left and right, two figures serenade with the plucky sound of ole’ timey music. If you’ve ever had a haircut at Syd’s Hair Shop on Rosemary Street you’re familiar with the layout. There’s a similar mural there. The painting is a most fitting image of Steel String’s commitment to home-made, home grown products. The brewery’s choice of an American manufacturer of brewing equipment, “Marks Metal Works, which is made with 100% American Steel, 100% American labor, and 100% American design” (more on this decision from their website here), is the reason for the delayed grand opening of the long awaited addition to the Carrboro scene.

Will you be there for the unveiling of Scott Nurkin’s painting at Steel String’s Grand Opening?