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Muralist spreads magic on the Gulf Coast one wall at a time

Large-scale public art murals are a must-see in the Magnolia State and appear to be everywhere, especially on chic boutiques and trendy cafés.

It is a way for local creators to showcase artistic talent in public spaces by designing a scene or idea and then using walls, buildings, ceilings, and sidewalks as canvasses.

One of these muralists is Mr CaLi RoB! Himself!-an established artist known throughout the Gulf Coast.

He’s painted on expansive surfaces all along the Coast and has works such as “Love is all we Knead” at Le Bakery and “Gulf Coast Strong” at Jacked Up Coffee Bar, both in Biloxi. His latest mural creation is “The City I Love” featuring Carl the Downtown Rooster at Lil Market Deli & Bagelry in Ocean Springs.

“When I don’t have a mountain of a wall to scale I am painting on anything I can get my hands on-paper, canvas, wood, old doors,” he said. “Doors are my favorite canvas of choice. I don’t know why, I guess they just symbolize life in a sense, opportunity in doors opening.

He’s a busy man, but he loves his work and thinks of being an artist as his life’s calling.

“I’m constantly creating, if not painting or drawing, then repurposing something or other,” he said. “I recently painted a chair. It’s rather abstract in appearance, but it’s become my ‘thinking chair.'”

Acrylic paint is his preferred medium which he often mixes in empty salsa jars.

“I wipe my brush on my hip, when I dip, you dip, we dip,” he joked on his Facebook and Instagram pages describing the process.

He loves to have a good time during the creative progression for each larger-than-life masterpiece which is reflected in his work and roots back to his childhood.

“My grandma definitely inspired me,” he said. “She was always encouraging me and always motivating me to pursue my passions, my talents, and my gifts from God.”

He recalled eating out with his beloved grandmother who was always ready to grab pens from her purse for him to doodle with while they waited for their food.

“It was moments like these that stick out from those early years,” he said.

Other influences include Mark Kistler, an artist who hosts drawing instruction shows for children, and neo-expressionist Jean Michel Basquiat.

“Which were huge pushes for me,” he said.

And what does the future hold for the one, the only, Mr CaLi RoB! Himself!

Van life!

“My short-term goal is to obtain a van to make into an art van to be able to take the show on the road to festivals and events,” he said. “One day I hope to find myself in a building to utilize as a studio and gallery to continue to make the magic happen.”


Written by Cherie Ward

Cherie Ward is an award-winning Mississippi Gulf Coast journalist with decades of experience in writing and photography. She lives in Ocean Springs with her husband and has two adult children who also live on the Coast.

Connect with her by email at [email protected] with story ideas or find her @cherieward on Instagram. She would love to hear from you.


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