Local Current Blog

Eyedea’s family honors hip-hop hero with new mural in St. Paul

Photos by Maia Jacobson/MPR

Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen left before us, at the height of his career as a rapper best-known as one half of Eyedea and Abilities.

In the nearly eight years since, there have been countless tributes to Eyedea all over the country ranging from huge events like a tribute show at First Ave in 2015 to the documentary about his life, The World Has No Eyedea, to more subtle memorials such as the Cherokee Park bench dedicated in his name in St. Paul…or the mural on the side of Eyedea’s grandfather’s auto garage at 259 Como Avenue.

The side of the building has been painted since the mid-aughts with various graffiti works, but it wasn’t until Eyedea’s passing in 2010 that a mural was created in his honor. The latest version, created to coincide with the First Ave event in 2015, has slowly deteriorating. At the request of Kathy Averill, Eyedea’s mother — or “Mama Eyedea,” as she signs posts on the Eyedea and Abilities Facebook page that she now runs — the mural has now been refreshed.

With volunteer graffiti artists and donated paints, Louis N. LaPierre — the Twin Cities-based visual artist who did cover art for both Face Candy and Carbon Carousel (two of Eyedea’s side projects) — is leading this effort to redo the mural.

“I leave it all up to the artists,” said Averill of the new mural during the beginning stages of the revamping process.”I know there will be some sort of homage to Mikey, like always, but there will also be some sort of homage to my mother who went before us this past May. The rest of the design and stuff is left up to them. You know, I have some rules; no swear words, no naked body parts, and no killing babies. But you know, artists are artists and they’re creative and I trust that whatever they do is going to be beautiful and wonderful.”

The mural is set to be completed by Oct. 13, which is Eyedea’s grandmother’s birthday and just three days before the eight-year mark since his passing. While the artists were prepping the wall to be repainted, some of the larger pieces of the old mural were scraped off and set aside for fans to come and pick up if they wanted.

Averill said that “in a couple weeks I’m going to play a game with those pieces! In a few weeks I’m going to put up a picture of the mural and ask people with the pieces to find where their piece goes!”