(Photo: Joshua Hawkins)
We’ve shared a story about a painter working on the wrong houses, but this one has a different twist – a painter had the house right, but he got the customer wrong. Artist Joshua Hawkins was hired to paint a 30-foot wide mural – featuring Cookie Monster and some Russian lettering – on a building in Peoria, Illinois. Since the actual dollars changed hands, he had no idea it was a prank until the building owner came by, saw him finishing up his work, and asked him what the “heck” he was doing.
Hilarity did not necessarily ensue as Hawkins tried to explain that he thought the job was legit, and the conversation is not one we can report word for word. Hawkins went on Facebook to share his confusion, acknowledging that he’d never had an experience like this before. Meanwhile, the building owner treated the mural as graffiti and whitewashed it. City residents, along with folks living in the Land of the Internet, were vocal in their disapproval. The now-erased mural façade was covered with tributes to the painted-over Muppet as well as – again – language we dare not report accurately.
Don't Hate on Nate
No one is sure of the identity of the man who originally posed as the building owner, but after a bit of backlash, the true owner, Nate Comte, and Hawkins have mended fences. Comte has posted a shout out asking for ideas for a new mural that he feels will play better in Peoria, and as you might expect, Hawkins has gotten numerous calls from around the country to reproduce his original artwork, including another chance to paint it in his hometown. He’s vowed to vet his customers more carefully in the future.