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Muralist creates another one, on a Woodstock wall

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Musician and muralist Michael Burge Smith, here shown seated, has created another mural for the Woodstock neighborhood; it appears on the west outside wall of Papaccinos Coffee Shop on S.E. 44th at Woodstock Boulevard. Michael Burge Smith says he believes in “the magic of music and murals”.

He paints murals – and he is a musician. So maybe a little of that magic is what enables him to travel internationally with his band, while also leaving time for him to paint large murals during the nighttime hours, in neighborhoods throughout the Portland region.

Smith’s most recent neighborhood mural is a “picture” of Woodstock, painted on the outside west wall of Papaccino’s Coffee Shop, at S.E. 44th and Woodstock Boulevard.

Last year, as BEE readers may remember from a previous article, he created that German Alps mural you see on the east wall of Otto’s Sausage Kitchen, also in the Woodstock neighborhood.

Painting a mural of a neighborhood can be more complicated than you might imagine. Smith tells us he began that project by walking the streets of Woodstock and taking pictures.

Once he started painting, requests began to roll in. Gene Dieringer, who owns the Papaccino’s building and most of the rest of that block had commissioned the mural, and there were certain businesses he hoped to see represented. Someone else suggested including Lewis Elementary School.

Smith listened attentively to the suggestions he received, but in the end he says the mural is his own mix of imagination and reality.

Off to the left, he painted a few images of the Willamette River and west side of Portland, and then – closer to Woodstock, in his mural – there is a castle. “Mike thought it was fascinating that somewhere in the world there is a ‘Castle Woodstock’,” explains Dieringer.

Overall, most of the buildings depicted on that wall are actual local establishments and houses along Woodstock Boulevard, and south to Lewis School.

“I said to Gene and his wife, ‘Let’s do the neighborhood from a bird’s-eye view’, and his wife loved the idea,” remarks Smith.

The painter splits his time, fifty-fifty, between music and murals. This summer he will play with his band, “MDC”, in twenty-five U.S. cities – and then they’ll head to Europe where the band will play in seventeen countries.

But Smith has painted many more murals than just the two in Woodstock – in between his music tours. To see more of his work, do an Internet search for “mad mike murals”.

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