This colorful, brash abstract work brightens the I-175 South branch of the freeway. But the cars merging onto the interstate miss it. This mural by Noirs One (pronounced “Norse”) decorates the outside of the overpass, facing the buildings just north of the freeway – at 500 Delmar Terrace South. The curves of All Children’s Hospital rise up behind the mural, just across the interstate.
The address is a little tricky. Delmar Terrace is sandwiched between 5th Avenue South and 4th Avenue South. The mural is on that street, between 5th Street and 6th Street South, before Delmar Terrace dead-ends into 4th Street.
The interstate spreads out above you, at the top of a grassy embankment. Aqua, gold, rich red and orange, white and blues and pink. Straight lines and diagonals and zig zags, arcs and interlocking circles. It’s a bold celebration of colors and shapes, only 6 feet high but a sprawling hundred and 20 feet long.
Starting on the left, the wall is bare grey concrete – until a coil of dark blue painted-on barbed wire reaches out into the grey. Just to the right, a fat white line curves out onto the concrete and down to the grass – then arcs up and toward the right, across blues, blacks, pinks and sparks of gold – an overlapping puzzle of abstract shapes that keep on changing patterns – straight and angles, rectangles and squares and curves, thick lines and thin. And here and there, obscured, cut off and hard to make out, the lower-case words, “noirs” and “one.”
The blue painted barbed wire arcs across the mural, like a coil unspooling.
One of the most colorful sections finds squares in many shades of blue piled like blocks at the base of the mural, interrupted by a square of orange, a triangle of red and a triangle of pink.
A thick, bright blue band swirls across the wall in knots, pulsing with movement.
Mitch Cook, who paints using the name Noirs One, moved to St. Pete from North Carolina. He painted this stretch of wall by himself in 6 days. He planned to paint a straight-across design, but after seeing the subtle rise of the wall as the freeway entrance heads toward I-275, he changed the images so they rise along the wall.
He explains that the mural, “was inspired by my day-to-day experiences in the city— things that most people look over. Chain link fences, sewer grates, and barbed wire fences – things we see everyday, that may seem mundane. But with the right perspective, they can be beautiful.
“It’s a call for people to notice the little things because perhaps they aren’t so little after all. I choose to view these things as art and through my piece, I implore other people to do the same.
Other patterns in the piece are abstractions of his daily life. He points out, “the staircase of my apartment that I walk up every night and the graffiti I see on my walk to the corner store every morning. I used the colors of the St. Petersburg flag as the personality of the city— colorful and bright.”
The sun radiating at the center of the mural is his tribute to the Sunshine City.
Watch a video of Noirs One at work during SHINE 2018