Véro’s mural: The happiest back porch in Birmingham (photos)

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Vero's mural
Artist Véro Vanblaere in front of her back porch mural. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Recently, while scrolling through social media, the staff at Bham Now discovered photos of a fun, eye-popping new mural by Véro Vanblaere –  Véro the Traveling Artist and past proprietor of Naked Art in Forest Park. Unlike most murals in town, it was not on the side of a wall or inside of a restaurant. The mural was on Véro’s porch – the happiest back porch in Birmingham.

This past weekend Véro welcomed my family to her porch for a tour, not only of her mural, but her wonderland of a backyard. Here is what we saw.

Greeted by Oakleaf Hydrangea

Vero's mural
Oakleaf hydrangea, Alabama’s state wildflower, in front of the

Before entering the back of Véro and her husband Clint Coopersmith’s home, we walked in front of a row of the Oakleaf Hydrangeas, which is the state wildflower for Alabama. In lieu of a lawn, the 2-3 foot tall wildflowers line the edge of her Avondale neighborhood yard along the sidewalk like an honor guard.

Focused on viewing the mural, we quickly entered Véro’s back porch – and there it was – stunning, bright and fun.

COVID-19 Project

Vero's mural
Back porch mural by Véro Vanblaere. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

During the lockdown, Véro and Clint were able to work on numerous projects—the mural chief among them.

Vero's mural
Back porch mural by Véro Vanblaere. A bicycle constellation. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

“I’ve wanted to do a mural on this back porch for 15 years,” Véro started out describing how the mural became a reality. “Basically, I had several different ideas, but I always changed my mind on designs and everything. And then when the pandemic hit, I was like, I should just do a design about everything that we love… Clint and I. We obviously love traveling, that’s a big part of our life. We love space, all the constellations. We featured things like cats, books, bicycles and birds.”

Vero's mural
Back porch mural by Véro Vanblaere. 5:00pm clock signifies cocktails before dinner. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now
Vero's mural
Back porch mural by Véro Vanblaere and the cat door (since her cat in the window). Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now
Vero's mural
Back porch mural by Véro Vanblaere. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now
Vero's mural
Back porch mural by Véro Vanblaere. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

According to Véro, the porch became the center of their life.

“We have had all our meals here three times a day during the pandemic. The clock (in the mural), that’s another habit during the pandemic, a very euro thing. We have a little nibble and cocktail before cooking. Clint would cool off in his sardine can around 4:30 (actually a stock tank pool – check out our story on the “pandemic” trend),” she said with a laugh.

Birmingham, stock tank pool, DIY backyard pool
Photo via Veronique Vanblaere

The title of the mural is Ni dieu Ni Maitre  – which means No god No Master.

Vero's mural
“No god No master – title of the mural. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

“We don’t have bosses. Ultimate freedom for us is to live without people telling us what to do as much as possible,” she added.

Additional Backyard Items

Vero's mural
Plant house built during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Pat Byington

Along with the mural and a stock tank, Clint built a plant house, so they could grow vegetables without them being raided by squirrels and other urban wildlife. A boutique handyman, Clint is currently constructing a patio in the backyard.

Traveling and Showing Art

Vero's mural
Back porch mural by Véro Vanblaere. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

Now that everything is slowly getting back to normal, Véro is entering her artwork to show at places like ArtWalk.  She and Clint intend to get back to traveling.

“I’m still an artist, so of course for me, it’s a great way to show what I can do when I’m given enough time.”

A great way to show her amazing talent indeed. What a gift. 

When the tour was over and my family got back into our car, we had reached consensus – Véro’s back porch is the happiest in Birmingham.

What kind of projects did you do during the pandemic?  We want to know. Tell us your story by emailing us at hello@bhamnow.com or tagging @bhamnow.com

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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