From Hot Rod to Gobzilla, new Main Street mural layered with Utah Jazz history
Trent Call expects you to stop and squint and think for a second the next time you walk past the corner of 100 South and Main Street.
The wall next to the Zions Bank there is 109 feet wide by 32 feet tall. And after two weeks of work by Call, it now depicts 40 seasons of Utah Jazz history.
“At first, some people might be confused by it and maybe won’t understand what’s going on right away,” said Call, a Salt Lake City-based artist. “But fans will instantly get it.”
Even diehards though, Call says, may have to look more than once. Because that 3,400-square-foot canvas contains plenty of hidden gems. Look once and you may notice Hot Rod Hundley, the legendary radio and TV personality. Look again, there’s Dr. Dunkenstein. Look once more and see the long arm of Rudy Gobert swatting away a shot.
“I like the idea that you could walk by it every day and find something different all the time,” Call said.
Call grew up in Salt Lake City and loved watching John Stockton and Karl Malone play for the Jazz.
His true love, however, was always art.
“Every kid is crazy creative and then they get discouraged and stop,” he said. “I was always drawing just like every other kid, but then I just kept with it.”
Call owns his own studio on the west side of Salt Lake City and has done a number of murals and public art projects.
“There were a lot of abandoned buildings and whatnot near my studio, so I would contact the owners,” Call said. “Instead of tagging and having it getting buffed, I’d get permission to paint a big mural and it would stay longer. That’s how it started.”
You may have seen his stylized caricatures on the walls of the popular Even Stevens sandwich chain. Or maybe you’ve seen his homage to Michael Jordan’s Flu Game in the alley behind the Fice Gallery downtown.
When Call got the chance to create a mural for his hometown Jazz, he jumped at it.
“I didn’t hesitate at all,” he said. “It sounded super cool. It’s right up my alley.”
Call watched another Jazz-themed mural, designed by the South African Artist Karabo Poppy, go up recently in downtown Salt Lake. He wanted to put his own spin on his street canvas, so Call picked through 40 seasons of historical references and settled on a design.
“There’s a lot of Utah pride going on here with the team,” Call said. “It gets people excited and people always have the hope of a championship.”
At night over the past couple of weeks, Call has projected the image on the wall, traced it and painted the outline with black spray paint. Then he filled in parts of the mural with the colors of the team’s logos over the years.
The next time you walk by, plan to spend a little time there.
Even Call himself has a hard time picking a favorite image from the mural.
“I like the Dunkenstein,” he said. “Or, no, Hot Rod is really ... I also like the Gobzilla with his hand out …”