Iver Johnson Mural by Jon Allen, 2018, acrylic paint on brick
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The Iver Johnson Mural was designed by Jon Allen, who used dynamic graphic visuals to make it ‘pop.’ The 15-foot tall mural was completed in autumn 2018, and is located at 35 Main Street. The unique color scheme and incorporation of Johnson’s portrait alongside imagery of his past makes this mural awe-inspiring.
Photo by Wes Cover
Backstory and Context
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The Iver Johnson Mural pays its respects to Iver Johnson, a famous Norwegian gunsmith turned cyclery owner. This mural features Johnson’s portrait and key elements associated with his profession. Completed in the autumn of 2018, this personal favorite of Allen’s stands at 75 feet by 15 feet. The mural took 11 days to paint by Jon Allen and a friend, Jason Mombert from Rochester, New York.
The mural’s concept was inspired by a conversation between Jon Allen and Peter Capodagli, one of the owners of the Rollstone Art Gallery. Dynamic graphic visuals were used to make the color palette ‘pop’ in the eyes of the viewer. The visuals also include a collage of different elements of a bike, including a head tube and a pedal gear, as well as a bike by itself to show it in more detail. The mural was painted on the wall of a former bicycle shop located at 35 Main Street, where Allen bought a bike at the age of twelve.
Working his way from the ground up, Iver Johnson became a well respected individual in the Fitchburg community. Through his collaboration with a gunsmith named Martin Bye, he helped build a five-story plant in the span of four years. In 1883, this became the Iver Johnson’s Arms and Cycle Works. Johnson’s company would go on to produce and sell firearms and bicycles through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although Iver Johnson died in 1895, his sons would continue to carry the family legacy at the shop, which began to manufacture motorcycles in 1907. The company later went out of business in 1993 before being resold as Iver Johnson Arms in 2006. Johnson was an entrepreneurial trailblazer whose vision for Fitchburg’s development continues to unfold, inspired by this remarkable mural.
Artist website: https://www.jonallenart.com
Writer: Patrick Shufelt
Speaker: Ryan Normand