Fruit Crate Mural Squeezes In from the Past
Artist Steve Spathelf and a new foundation for art and history preservation worked together to pay homage to Dunedin's orange-manufacturing heritage.
Dunedin's infamous orange bandit finally accomplished his dream.
Steve Spathelf, finally, after two years of spreading orange art appreciation to the outside walls of businesses across Dunedin, got to paint what he originally hoped. A fruit crate label.
Spathelf joined together with The Dunedin Chamber Cultural & Education Foundation, a year-old nonprofit that promotes the preservation and education of public art, for a mural that would pay homage to the city's orange-manufacturing heritage.
Spathelf said, he's always been fascinated with the old labels.
"I just think they’re cool," he said.
The orange crate labels fueled his desire to paint them and two years ago, he set in motion a citywide orange craze.
Spathelf began secretly painting oranges on businesses about two years ago. Dunedin fell in love with them. Soon after, he revealed his identity and has since continued, taking on orange paintings as he's commissioned. He's up to 131 paintings. The 100th orange went up on the Institute for Creative Arts on April 23. He is also known for (Dunedin) Smokehouse Sally and the postcard mural outside Thorton, Donoghue & Associates on Main Street.
The new mural is a replica (with some artistic liberties) of a label that's on display at the Dunedin Historical Museum, he said. It is on the outside wall of Stirling Commons (next to Dragonfly Garden and Stirling Art Studios & Gallery) and was officially unveiled with a small ceremony on Dec. 7.
"At least it’s appealing," Spathelf said, and "it’s part of art history." (Again.)