Hundreds gathered at The Morrie in downtown Royal Oak on Thursday, Sept. 14, to celebrate the popular eatery and live music venue’s one-year anniversary. The restaurant also celebrated the completion of a 2,200-square-foot mural, covering the entirety of the south and east walls of the building.
“I am incredibly thankful to all of our guests, associates, families and friends who have supported The Morrie this past year,” said Aaron F. Belen, owner of AFB Hospitality Group. “It’s been an exciting first year, and I’m excited to see what the future brings!”
Kobie Solomon, internationally renowned mixed media artist, was commissioned by AFB Hospitality Group to design and paint the mural. Solomon is most widely known for his work in the Russell Industrial Center (“the Lion”), which is billed as the largest mural in Michigan.
Taking nearly 10 weeks to complete, the mural features a large oak tree, symbolizing Royal Oak, with massive branches spreading across the wall, with 30 children, depicted as various famous musicians and artists — like Axl Rose, Slash, Jimi Hendrix and Janice Joplin — playing throughout the yard on swings, ropes and in a tree house.
“The mural is intended to be an artistic milestone for the community of Royal Oak,” said Solomon. “Throughout the installation, there are multiple optical illusions that can be seen from three separate vantage points, and include elements of surrealism and a large forced perspective optic.
“My goal throughout the mural was to create an imaginary world, with a subtle bridge between fantasy and reality,” he added. “There are also cultural and societal statements hidden within the interaction and placement of almost all of the characters … but their exact meanings will be left to the viewer to speculate!”
During the “completion party,” Solomon had the help of nearly 75 children and their families to put the finishing touches on the east wall of the mural. Kids playfully spray-painted the wall, leaving their own personal artistic imprint, which will remain permanently on the wall.
Later in the evening, Your Generation in Concert, the venue’s resident band, took the stage.
Check out the mural for yourself. The Morrie is located at 511 S. Main St. in Royal Oak.
PHOTOS BY JERRY ZOLYNSKY