Wanna buy a wall? Last look at a mural I painted in 1977-1978

Holly Lisle: Beaver Local High School Mural
Holly Lisle: Beaver Local High School Mural — Click for big image
So my friend Jean lets me know that Beaver Local High School in Lisbon, Ohio—the high school I went to from 1976-1979, when I graduated—is about to be demolished.

And that at least one of the murals I painted in one of the classrooms there still exists, though not for much longer. She sent me a picture of the mural, which I’ve added above.

Back then, I talked her into helping me paint it during a study hall we shared. It was a big damn wall, and I was very persuasive, because painting on cinder-block was hard work.

The picture is my depiction of the Canterbury Tales. I was astonished at how much I loved Chaucer (especially the dirty stories) that I read the stories in both English and Middle English (with a LOT of help from the translation notes) that year.

My teacher, Jim Rose, asked me if I’d design and paint a mural for the wall. The picture above is what I did.

I don’t remember who all the characters are anymore, but I do remember that the four characters on the bottom row are the Miller, the Reeve, the Friar, and the Wife of Bath (my signature is on her sleeve).

Next row up, I don’t remember the dude on the left with the lute, but the woman on the right is the Prioress.

I also remember the Knight. The rest are now blanks, though if I re-read the book, I’d get them back.

The school is auctioning off everything. http://baerauctions.com/upcoming-auction/beaver-local-school-auction/

In theory at least, someone could take this awesome one-ton piece of kid art home.

Which is where the title of this post comes from. Do I think anyone will buy it? Of course not.

But it made a fun post title, and it gave me an excuse to show you something I did when I was a kid.

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5 responses to “Wanna buy a wall? Last look at a mural I painted in 1977-1978”

  1. Niche Avatar

    I’m a little surprised it survived so intect that many years without being painted over. I know my high school has had at least w remodels since I was there and what I remember is long gone.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I was, too. Jean just sent me a bunch of other pictures from the school, including one other mural I did in the same classroom. I’m putting that into another post.

  2. Rez Avatar

    The style even manages to be medieval! and is the lady *gasp* winking??

    I wonder how many ‘trivial’ artworks like this one are being lost because their home building lacks historical significance and is about to become rubble … imagine if the building were standing 1000 years from now, what would archeologists say about this painting? Wouldn’t be so trivial then, would it!

    (I like it. I think it has character.)

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you. I wish I could claim that the half-head error on the characters was intentional, and done for a period effect. However, in my case, it was sixteen-year-old primitivism in action.

      But the fact that the friar has his hand around the Wife of Bath’s waist was my indication that I’d discovered through Chaucer that real human beings lived in the Middle Ages. That people even back than had senses of humor, dirty minds, lust and passion, lofty aspirations, dreams and desires.

      That my own generation was not inventing what it meant to be human.

      That mural was the best way I had at the time to express that discovery.

    2. Holly Avatar

      I got that same sense of delight at the humanity of ancient humans when I read Aristophanes (Greek humorist playwright) and when I discovered Roman tintinnabula.

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