Local artist Erik Roggeveen picked up a paintbrush for the first time only two-and-a-half years ago.
Today, you can see his 112-square-foot hand-painted mural — his first ever — on the east-facing wall of The Cannery at 11th and Mill Alley. The Cannery pub unveiled the mural March 6 and it’s hard to miss: The vividly colored, forced-perspective painting evinces a comic book-style and depicts a woman holding a jar of alien-looking pickled foods, like garlic, carrots and purple broccoli.
Roggeveen’s mural, titled “Potential,” is artistic in a way that transcends his painting skills. He sidestepped the usual restraints of murals — immoveable, unsellable and destined for a fate of graffiti or weather damage — by mounting it onto a frame.
The project began a year and a half ago, when Roggeveen met Lori Mace, a chiropractor and co-owner of The Cannery, after having “an old-man-back problem.” Mace learned Roggeveen was an artist and mentioned that she and her husband had wanted a mural for the side of the building.
“I hadn’t really been advertising myself as an artist, but I promised that I would take any interesting job that came to me,” says Roggeveen, who comes from a background of writing, sculpture, online gaming, video games and comic book art. He has only been a professional artist for the last few years, self-taught through daily lessons with YouTube videos and thrift store art books. His illustration of Conan O’Brien, titled “The Holiday Maestro,” was featured on CONAN and resides digitally in O’Brien’s online museum of fan artwork. He’s also working on a graphic novel, Billybob <REDACTED> Battles the Establishment.
Roggeveen drew some sketches and presented the frame idea, which would allow the building’s existing mural (the lederhosen beervana from when the building still housed Bier Stein) to remain intact. Murals have always been quintessential to community art, but he’s taken the notion further with the mounted frame, making it possible for the work of other artists to rotate through. Roggeveen’s mural will act as the default, but it will interchange with others.
“I was trying to think, ‘What really defines murals? What are the problems with doing a mural?’” he says. “You’re stuck with it. If you put it on the wall of your business, unless you break down the wall and take it with you, it’s gone.” Roggeveen says he built the frame with the help of welder Tom Campina and compares it to a metal TV mount.
The Cannery already displays work from local artists inside that rotates every three months, and the mural is an extension of that. “One of our missions is to give back to the community, and that has always been through local artists,” says Mace, who sees opportunities for artists to exhibit their work, as well as for other businesses to sponsor artists and use the space as sort of a billboard that supports both local artists and businesses.
As for advice for interested mural novices?
“You don’t have to be the guy who’s born with the ability to create the ‘Mona Lisa.’ You have to be the guy who gets up every day and kicks ass and takes opportunities,” Roggeveen says. “Basically, you just have to keep plowing forward.”