Detroit artist Ed Irmen painted two new murals in the cities of Ferndale and Berkley over the past couple of months. This mural is located on the Folio Offices building in downtown Berkley.
FERNDALE — The cities of Ferndale and Berkley got a bit brighter with the additions of new murals on downtown office buildings.
The murals can be found at 150 Vester Ave. in Ferndale and 2838 Coolidge Highway in Berkley, which are the locations of Folio Offices, a coworking space for businesses or individuals. The company owns both buildings on which the murals were painted.
During the Berkley Street Art Fest in 2019, Folio painted two murals: one behind its building near a back alley and another on its garage.
As the Street Art Fest approached this year, Folio co-founder Dan Stakhiv said they wanted to continue their installations of murals on Folio properties. In Berkley, they wanted to build off the mural that was painted two years ago.
“I’m trying to activate an alley,” Stakhiv said. “It’s just pretty boring back there. So I’m just trying to make some kind of (improvement) for the neighborhood.”
The murals were painted by two different artists in 2019, one of whom was Ed Irmen, of Detroit. Stakhiv said he really liked what Irmen crafted on the building two years ago and wanted to bring him back.
“I liked (Irmen’s) whimsical style,” he said. “He’s just easy to work with. I’m just like, ‘You do you,’ and he just goes for it.”
Irmen has been doing public art since 2017. When Irmen began his murals in Berkley, Stakhiv gave him free rein to create whatever he wanted on the Folio wall, with the directive that Stakhiv wanted it to be colorful and appealing.
Irmen decided to focus his piece on something he enjoyed painting: birds.
“I did a focus on some family of cranes and really put emphasis on the color in the backgrounds, making sure that it popped,” he said. “When he asked me to do another one in Berkley (in 2021), I wanted to use the same palette in the background so that it kind of meshed into a cohesive piece. So if you look at the back of it, it kind of has the same exact overtones for the entire thing.”
After completing the Berkley mural, which extended the birds theme, Irmen was brought in to paint another mural on the side of Folio’s newly purchased building in Ferndale.
Earlier this year, Irmen was hired to strip all the paint off the building and paint it entirely black. When he came back to paint the mural, Stakhiv told him he could get rid of the black paint and create something new and more colorful.
Irmen instead decided to use the black paint to make the piece pop more. He also decided to go with birds on the Ferndale building as well.
“I started conceptualizing stuff and … I think that putting a vibrant color piece on top of a black background is really something to behold,” he said. “It makes the colors even more important.”
Irmen said he was stoked with how all the art turned out, and he felt he nailed his most recent piece in Ferndale.
“You put a lot of time into the paint and coming up with different ways to apply it, and since 2017, I’ve gotten a lot better at my application and speed,” he said. “This is kind of one of those ones that feels like I finally feel comfortable with what I’m working with.”