The Taubman Museum of Art is part of the lively metro mountain mix of arts, culture and outdoor fun in the heart of downtown Roanoke, Virginia.
Weaving narrative with vivid hues and at a massive scale, artist Mickael Broth’s Everyone Wants to Leave Their Mark is the Taubman Museum of Art’s newest outdoor mural on view. Located adjacent to Morning Brew Coffee Company under the Williamson Road overpass facing Norfolk Avenue, the mural recounts the journeys of Broth’s family and friends in addition to his own experiences, ultimately exploring the human desire to leave an everlasting mark on a transient world. Broth, also known as “The Night Owl,” is a Richmond-based artist, muralist and writer. He moved to his new hometown in 2001 with the intention of painting as much graffiti as possible, but his work was halted abruptly in 2004 with his arrest and subsequent 10-month jail term—his graffiti was considered vandalism at the time. Since then, he has gone on to pursue a successful (and legal) career in the arts. Broth was awarded a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship in 2008 for his gallery work and has shown widely around the United States, from museums and galleries to alternative spaces and abandoned buildings. He has painted more than 200 public murals throughout North America and Europe since 2012, in addition to helping curate multiple public art festivals. He has been an active member of the community, working with youth groups, as well as leading volunteer groups in the creation of collaborative public art projects. Broth serves on the board of directors for the RVA Street Art Festival and has been instrumental in the curatorial direction of the organization since its formation in 2012.
"Everyone Wants to Leave Their Mark centers around the idea that we all want to create some lasting impact on the world. That theme is expressed literally and figuratively throughout the piece, with a focus on the artist’s immediate friends and family. While Mickael hopes viewers will bring their own interpretations and ideas to the work, he also enjoys sharing the details and thoughts that go into the work. His mother is referenced in the woman gardening among a sea of blooming flowers, while his two year old son, Maverick, finger-paints his favorite things (a monster truck, the Eiffel Tower, a giraffe) on the wall nearby. In fact, Maverick did paint some of the marks in that section, with help from dad of course. The desolate skatepark is a representation of a DIY skate spot built by the artist and his friends which was become a part of Richmond’s skateboard history. The figure tattooing his own chest is one of the artist’s best friends, Michael, who took his own life in 2015. He was a tattooer who literally left his mark on hundreds of people, including multiple pieces on Broth. Further along the piece there are more references to Mickael’s loved ones; a daruma doll tattoo on his wife that is indicative of her pursuit of a doctoral degree in education, his father who is a dentist, his crew of camping friends, his own fluorescent orange nails which he refers to as “war paint,” alongside nods to human ingenuity, from the Blue Ridge Tunnel to pyramids constructed by great cultures around the globe who were all intent on leaving their own mark." -Mickael Broth Everyone Wants to Leave Their Mark is organized by the Taubman Museum of Art and curated by Kimberly C. Piland, Exhibition Coordinator, Taubman Museum of Art. The mural is on view August 15, 2018 through July 2020.