Birmingham, another one of artist John Lytle Wilson’s robots strikes again!
At the entrance of the Magic City Wellness Center is a nearly three story mural of John’s beloved robot. And this time, instead of wearing a superhero cape, he is donning a stethoscope with a rainbow alongside him.
Earlier this month, we sat down with John at Trim Tab Brewery, the site of his latest exhibition, to talk to him about his latest robot mural.
A Big Fan
A confession. I’m a big John Lytle Wilson fan. Ever since, I first saw his artwork at Rojo, the popular restaurant on Birmingham’s Highland Avenue, I’ve been hooked on his quirky and lovable monkeys and robots. Heck, when John painted Rojo’s restrooms, I made it a point to take all of my out of town guests to Rojo, not just for the food, but to see the robot and monkeys.
The New Mural
So, the first question I asked John was – What’s the story behind the Magic City Wellness mural?
“The Magic City Wellness Mural is 2 ½ stories from floor to ceiling,” John said. “When they approached me about doing a mural, they wanted it to play with the rainbow theme. My thought was for it to be a medical robot. I was inspired by the medical droid in the Empire Strikes Back. In my work, I often include modern day props, all kinds of sci-fi stuff. For this one, I wanted to have that medical quality so I gave him a stethoscope along with a big giant rainbow welcoming people to the clinic. It was fun to work that big. Getting them to be near life size is always fun.”
The Magic City Wellness mural is about the same size as the famous Morris Avenue mural.
John told me that while he was working on his masters degree in art from Florida State University for his master’s thesis he had worked out this elaborate artist statement about all the animals he was using, monkeys, pigs, deer and tigers. It was all worked out, but for one thing. He wanted to work on robots.
“While I was working on this I really wanted to work on robots, but I had no idea how I was going to tell my committee how and why I paint robots. My first robot was this burning head, I haven’t looked back,” he chuckled.
He described the robots as a nice counterbalance to the animal paintings. The animals vs the robots. Nature vs. technology. Prehistoric vs futuristic.
“Really, I spent too much time watching cartoons in the 80s as a kid. Regurgitating transformers and Star Wars and whatever up on the canvas.”
If you are hooked on John Lytle Wilson’s robots and monkeys like I am follow him on social media. Here are the links:
View his work: Website | Facebook | Instagram
He presently has an exhibition up at Trim Tab Brewery and regularly has shows at the Grand Bohemian Gallery, Artwalk and Magic City Art Connection.