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Mickey Mouse in parking meter shadow

Mickey Mouse Faces on the Sidewalk?

Question Corner: November 2021

by Tim Athan

From the November, 2021 issue

Q. Remember the Mickey Mouse faces a local artist painted on the sidewalk by parking meters? Who was that artist?

A. This creative hijink delighted a generation. "It was the most random piece of graffiti, until a certain point in the day when a parking meter's shadow fell and became the ears," popular sidewalk artist David Zinn told in 2010. "That was one of the first cases I ever remember of experiencing art that was suddenly underfoot, serving the purpose of shaking you out of what you are doing at that moment."

Some associate the work with Chris Frayne, an illustrator whose work included album covers for his brother George's band, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. (Chris Frayne died in 1992, and George in September).

A 1996 Observer article noting the paintings had been refreshed brought an answer to the mystery of their origin. John Dunn wrote that they were the work of his son Chris, who earned a U-M BFA in ceramics in 1982. Chris Dunn had died of a heart attack the previous year, and in his honor, his friends had refreshed the cartoons.

They have long since faded again, and with newer streetlights and meters, the shadows that inspired them are gone as well.

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