Art World Horror Stories: Man One and the Nightmare Mural [Podcast] cover

Art World Horror Stories: Man One and the Nightmare Mural [Podcast]

Halloween is just around the corner, which means spooky season is alive and well at NOT REAL ART. To get listeners into the spirit, we’ve got another episode of Art World Horror Stories on deck this week. If you missed last week’s episode with muralist Amandalynn, head there now to hear about her terrifying fall from high-rise scaffolding and the slow but steady recovery process that followed.

On today’s episode, host and NOT REAL ART founder Scott “Sourdough” Power sits down with longtime friend and close collaborator Man One to discuss the graffiti artist’s disastrous mural project for the Center for Disease Control (CDC). “This is one of those stories where it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse,” says Man One, an LA-based illustrator, curator, and entrepreneur who’s been an active member of the art world for 20 years. “I'm going to forewarn you, this horror story gets worse!”

From racial slurs and defamation to vandalism and cease and desist letters, the project was plagued by obstacles from the start. “Every single day, some old person would stop by, yell at us, flip us off,” Man One says. “This [was] the least threatening mural that I have ever done in my life, and [I was] getting the most flak that I've ever received!” The project’s concept? A fun, colorful mural promoting the benefits of exercise and play for children in the neighborhood. “The first thing [this experience] did was open my eyes, not to be so naive about coming into a community [with a mural] and thinking that people are going to be on board just because it's a positive message.”

Today’s episode is peppered with unexpected surprises and a few life lessons from Man One himself. “Expect the unexpected,” he says. “As an artist, I always have to be aware that there's something that I'm not aware of. There's the unknown. There's something that I'm not seeing, but I’ve got to keep my ears and eyes open so that, when it shows up, I can address it, whatever it may be.”

With more twists and turns than an M. Night Shyamalan film, Man One’s horror story is one for the books. Tune into today’s episode for a dose of art-world dread.

Man One: Website | Instagram | Twitter (X) | Art World Horror Stories

All photos published with permission of the artist(s).

Want to be featured on NOT REAL ART? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.

Morgan  Laurens 

Morgan Laurens (she/her/hers) is NOT REAL ART’s editor in chief. Morgan is an arts writer from the Midwest who enjoys saying “excuse me” when no actual pardon is needed. She specializes in grant writing and narrative-based storytelling for mission-driven artists and arts organizations. With a background in printmaking, pop culture, and classic literature, Morgan believes a girl’s best friend is the pile of books on her bedside table.