A mural grows on Second Street — and people are loving it
PHOTO BY PHIL DEVITT/FALL RIVER SPIRIT
WORK OF ART: Ed Capeau puts the finishing touches on his portrait of Mother Teresa.
By PHIL DEVITT
Fall River Spirit Editor
Albert Einstein was the first to show up on
Second Street. Then came Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Lucille Ball and
John Wayne wearing a cowboy hat. Mother Teresa came last, her smiling
face sandwiched between two white doves.
famous faces, painted larger than life on a bare wall of a downtown
building, are making people stop, smile and in some cases, reflect.
insane," artist Ed Capeau said of the public's reaction to his
creations. "People keep giving me thumbs up. Some of them drive by and
yell, 'I love Lucy.' Buses do tours past the building. They're flipping
out. Some of them say I'm cleaning up the town."
began the project a couple of months ago after Robert Tavares,
president of Lavoie & Tavares Painting and Decorating, asked him to
spruce up the side wall of his business, which sits across the street
from the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption.
said he was sold after seeing Capeau's 16-by-20-foot canvas painting of
Einstein that depicted the celebrated physicist as he appeared in an
iconic 1951 photograph — playfully sticking out his tongue with a messy
head of white hair. He asked the West Bridgewater artist to duplicate
the painting on his wall and add a few new friends to the mix. The mural
would bring more attention to the business and help Capeau showcase his
talents, Tavares thought.
Positive comments have been pouring in for weeks.
I've noticed is that it keeps making people smile," Tavares said of the
mural. "Every day out there, all I see is people walking all over the
place with smiles on their faces. They say (Capeau) is making the city
beautiful, that it's gorgeous work, that it's about time."
a self-taught artist with no formal training, said he has painted in
public before, but never in such a well-traveled area. He appreciates
the instant, on-the-street feedback, but admitted it's a bit
overwhelming when he's trying to work, especially when a talkative crowd
gathers around the gate that borders the property.
learning to ignore it," the artist said with a smile on an unusually
quiet morning as he put the finishing touches on Mother Teresa. "I love
this gate. It means people can't get too close."
Still, having an audience can be fun and occasionally inspirational.
him?" Capeau said, pointing to a silver-haired, moustached Postal
Service driver as he zipped past the building toward Rodman Street. "He
was my model for Einstein. He would drive by and stick his tongue out
Other spectators provide good entertainment.
girl was walking on the sidewalk, looking at the mural, and she ran
right into a stop sign — boing," Capeau said, laughing. "It has caused
quite a stir."
The faces are striking in their
detail and are instantly recognizable. Monroe appears as an
unmistakable glamour girl. Lennon is wearing sunglasses and a New York
City shirt. Ball's face is accented by her famous curly hair and red
lips. Wayne appears as though he just stepped off the set of "Tall in
the Saddle." And Mother Teresa displays the same kind, friendly face she
had in life.
Together, in order, the faces
represent intelligence, beauty, music, comedy, strength and peace,
Capeau said, adding that he got to know the gang intimately. "I know
John Lennon's nose very well now," Capeau said.
The artist usually sketches faces before he paints them, but said he relies on nothing else to get the job done.
"It's all feeling. I have no clue what's going to happen, but I just kind of feel it."
Second Street project proved challenging for the artist with more than
20 years of experience. The wall is stucco, not a smooth exterior.
Capeau said he decided to use house paint, which was easier to
manipulate on a rough surface. It's also mildew-proof.
the best. We treasure him," Lavoie and Tavares office manager Laurie
Ploude said of Capeau, expressing her amazement one recent morning.
mural is finished for now, but Tavares said there's room for a few more
faces — possibly the Three Stooges — and some of the portraits could be
replaced with those of other famous people if there is a demand.
"I'd love to see Elvis up there, being a guy," Tavares said.
More information on Capeau's work is available at www.fauxbycapeau.com.