The Holiday Art of Calvin Farrar

In Downtown, Midtown, Random by Rebecca PhillipsLeave a Comment

Some people might consider sign painting as a dying art, just as some might have seen local printing becoming slowly executed by the internet’s ability to provide online magazines, catalogs and quick email blasts. For a time, hand-painted company signs were becoming something of the past and people couldn’t make a living off sign painting alone. There have always been sign painters though and people who learn under them, even if the number is few. Today the number of sign painters are growing. For Memphis, one of our dear local sign painters is Artiek Smith. However he is mostly retired, you might still catch him producing artwork around town, such as the holiday window display on Blues City Cafe completed recently. Smith became a very well-known local artist, responsible for most window art and signage you would find at your favorite local venue. He also stayed busy creating caricatures at events and fine art you could find around town and across the deep blue see in Paris, France. The fine art he continues today are portraits but his all-time favorite subject to paint was black cowboys because of the style and history.

Blues-City-Cafe

Snowman dressed appropriately for Blues City Cafe.

About 25 years ago, Calvin Farrar began painting alongside Artiek Smith. Thanks to Farrar, the art of window painting and signage is still vibrant and strong. Come near Halloween, Farrar’s paintings begin popping up on windows around town. When December hits, the jolly goodness appears just about everywhere. Farrar recalls his very first holiday window painting was at the Huey’s midtown location but today his work can be seen from West Memphis all the way to Germantown. One of his first murals remains imprinted on the outside wall of West Memphis’ Panchos. And if you like murals (you should like murals) then you also might be interested to know he created the wall painting at Molly’s La Casita near Overton Square about 10 years ago.

panchos

 

mollys

For kicks, I went around town collecting photographs of my favorite holiday window paintings this season. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

This jolly Santa can be seen at Huey's midtown location. Whether he's about to give a Huey's burger or he's showing it off before devouring it himself, I think we can  agree it makes us feel content about eating a burger instead of a turkey.

This jolly Santa can be seen at Huey’s midtown location. Whether he’s about to give a Huey’s burger or he’s showing it off before devouring it himself, I think we can agree it makes us feel content about eating a burger instead of a turkey.

This window painting can be seen on Broad Ave. The snowmen don't actually sing to you but they sure look like they want to!

This window painting can be seen on Broad Ave. The snowmen don’t actually sing to you but they certainly look like they want to,

Elves get their groceries at Cash Saver. Must be for the hard cider.

Elves get their groceries at Cash Saver, probably for the hard cider.

Silky O' Sullivan's on Beale Street is where you'll find Santa unwinding with friends.

Silky O’ Sullivan’s on Beale Street is where you’ll find Santa unwinding with friends.

Great catch, Santa! Catfish for Soul Fish Cafe on Cooper.

Great catch, Santa! Catfish for Soul Fish Cafe on Cooper.

Feel free to tell us where your favorite holiday window art can be spotted too!

Rebecca Phillips

I am a female born in the United States though I generally fear the border patrol. Buy me an ice cream cone and maybe I'll paint you something.

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