A mural of a lion chasing a cyclist has leaped onto the side of a building in the Glenwood South neighborhood.
The mural was painted by Scott Nurkin on a blank wall of August Construction Solutions’ building at 707 N. West St. Commissioned by August founder and owner Michael Iovino, its vivid yellows and reds mimic a stylized version of a vintage Raleigh Bicycle Company advertisement distributed to African colonies during the early 20th century.
“The colors are super bold, and it’s kind of hard to ignore,” Nurkin said.
The mural pays homage to Raleigh and to Flythe Cyclery, which operated on Peace Street for about 40 years before it closed in August. Since the mural was completed earlier this month, it has garnered lots of positive feedback.
“People really like this one,” said Nurkin, who owns The Mural Shop in Chapel Hill and has been painting and restoring large-scale illustrations at restaurants, bars, schools and zoos across the country.
Nurkin’s work also appears on the pedestrian overpass on Shaw University’s campus in Raleigh.
He met Iovino through the Raleigh Mural Project, which started in 2014. The group doesn’t commission its own art but brings together local artists and property owners. It also operates a website that catalogs the city’s murals.
August Construction Solutions, which began in 2013 and specializes in retail construction, celebrated its move to North West Street near downtown this month. Because the far side of the building is built on the property line, windows couldn’t be installed, Iovino said.
“That left us with a rather large blank wall, yearning for a mural,” he said.
Coming up with ideas for the mural, Iovino tried to think about the area where August sits – the rapidly developing northern end of downtown.
The state Department of Transportation is replacing the Capital Boulevard bridges over Peace Street and Wade Avenue, a three-year project that will reconfigure the street grid. Several projects slated to begin in the next few years will bring new apartments, retail and grocery stores to the area near Seaboard Station.
The neighborhood will look quite different in a few years, and Iovino said he chose the image of a bicyclist partly because it gives a glimpse into the neighborhood’s origins.
The now-closed Flythe Cyclery is across from Iovino’s business.
“I wanted to get something that said Raleigh, because it’s paying homage to the city,” he said. “But to have the former Flythe Cyclery across the street, there is a bike history in this neighborhood.”
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi