“I wanted to do something to honor Smith even before his death,” Nurkin said.
Nurkin said he is working every day on his murals, including his mural of Dean Smith, from nine to five.
Nurkin said he always wanted to be an artist. After graduating from UNC, he got an internship with Chapel Hill muralist Michael Brown.
Nurkin continued to work with Brown after the internship ended.
“He taught me many things. I learned to work with murals of all scales, and also all the painting techniques,” Nurkin said.
“Painting has always been my passion, and being able to live from it is a dream come true.”
Chapel Hill residents have had mixed reactions about the piece.
“I think that Nurkin’s job is awesome,” said Alexia Labouverie, a UNC exchange student.
“The mural is beautiful, and it represents the spirit of the city.”
But UNC junior Serene Barghouti said she feels UNC is too focused on sports.
“I love campus spirit as much as anyone else does, but it can get tiresome. Besides, Dean Smith has enough memoranda in his honor, so I do not see why he needs a mural,” she said. “However, I respect the decision of the artist. If that is what he really wants to work on, everyone should respect it.”
UNC senior Michael Stephens said Smith was important to the town and the University.
“He was a very special coach, and I think that it is great that a painter has decided to commemorate him like this,” Stephens said.