A mural of Stevie Wonder outside the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts downtown is finally done.
Artist Richard Wilson, based in London, put the finishing touches on the mural the morning of Wednesday, July 10. He began the approximately 100-foot-tall painting in May, on Stevie Wonder’s birthday. It’s based on the iconic photograph by Douglas Kirkland of Wonder, with his unmistakable smile, at a keyboard.
[Correction: According to Rick Manore, PR director for the Music Hall, the Wonder mural is not quite done. Because the weather hasn’t cooperated, it’s likely to be finished July 20.]
“For me, he’s the greatest living singer, songwriter, and musician,” Wilson told the Detroit Free Press. “In 300 years, I’m sure he’ll be looked (at) as a Beethoven, Mozart, Bach—that kind of epic influence on humanity.”
What’s most impressive is that Wilson made the mural at his own expense. He didn’t get a commission, paid for his own flight to Detroit, and bought all the supplies himself. He estimates that the mural cost him at least $10,000.
Wilson has also painted a mural in Eastern Market of a woman browsing classic Detroit vinyl records, and already started another on the Music Hall’s west wall. That mural, which will depict an African-American boy looking up at the Music Hall’s stage, is being sponsored by the London-based nonprofit Education Is Not a Crime.
Wonder, who turned 69 years old in May, recently announced at a concert in London that he’s undergoing a kidney transplant in September. He’s unlikely to perform again until 2020.