A Minneapolis mural mozy

The Twin Cities have a lot to offer, yet I seldom prowl their streets with camera in hand, as I usually do when I travel.

I was pondering this the other day when I happened to drive past this mural:

You are the artist. Life is your canvas. Talk about a kick in the (creative) pants! I went home, grabbed my camera, and set out on a “photo safari” of Minneapolis’ cool murals.

My favorite has been a fixture in Dinkytown for as long as I can remember. Fittingly, it’s a tribute to another Dinkytown fixture, Bob Dylan.

Yes, this homage really is located on Fourth Street. Some of the paint has faded, but Bob Dylan is still going strong. I love his mysterious Mona Lisa smile.

Just around the corner there’s a more recent addition. This one takes a nostalgic view of Dinkytown itself, celebrating the businesses that have come and gone.

Of these, I used to frequent Campus Drugs, which has now morphed into a wonderful—if somewhat pricey—restaurant. And guess what? The restaurant has its own mural, too.

So does the Burrito Loco, about a block away. What could be better than love and peace, Jimi Hendrix, and a bean burrito?

A couple of smaller paintings adorn the alleys between the businesses.

But I think the biggest mural in Minneapolis is probably at Merit Printing in the Warehouse District. This block-long behemoth has evolved over the past 14 years years. (Here’s one incarnation. And another.)

Then, in 2009, seven artists gathered to give the building its “Last Mural EVER.” I didn’t have a lens wide enough to capture the whole thing, but here’s a small sampling of their stunning work.

In what seems to be a growing trend, other businesses have also commissioned murals. I’m not sure what this one represents but it’s certainly distinctive.

A nearby coffee shop and tanning salon have more thematically appropriate walls.

But of all the business-related murals I saw during my walk, this one (for an otherwise unremarkable fish market at ‎628 Central Ave. NE) was my favorite.

Hats off to you, Ethan Heidlebaugh!

And last—but certainly not least—there’s this whimsical wall by my pal Chank Diesel. Here’s Chank, hard at work in July

… and here’s his completed masterpiece, in all its verdant glory:

I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface, and that I’ve missed some notable landmarks. Still … it was good to appreciate my city through new eyes. Thanks to Val Carpender for providing the inspiration to see my life—and my city—as a canvas.


  1. These are all awesome murals. You should check out some of them on the southside. My wife has one on her building at 2900 13th ave s. also my studio painted one on the Hub bike coop 3020 Minnehaha Ave. S.
    Check them out.

    Thanks for the nice pics

  2. Very cool. I love murals on buildings. There is a great one about whales in Monterey, CA–and a few isolated ones in my hometown. But in LA there are lots–even a tour from a bookstore that used to take people around to find them all. I never did get any photos. Maybe that will go on my busket list!

    • What a great idea, to do a walking tour of urban murals! I’m glad that more people are appreciating—and engaging in—public art. It really does make our cities so much more interesting and vibrant, don’t you think? (And yes, *please* post some pics if you bring your camera along next time!)

  3. Fascinating. I loved the illustration of Jimi Hendrex! I used to have that poster on my bedroom door as a teenager 🙂


  4. Hi … I’d like to know WHERE that “you are the artist life is your canvas” mural is in Minneapolis. (I live near Uptown.) What’s the street address, please? [My addy is eod2eod2 }at{ gmail.com.] Thanks!

    • Hello Ashley! Sadly, the art you describe was on the side of the Merit Printing building, which was torn down last fall to make way for some condos. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news …

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