“There are so many types of paint and so many tools to do graffiti and so many types of varnishes, so each project is different,” Brown said. “You approach it with a couple of things: what’s the problem with this one and what materials will work. It takes experience and you gradually learn what works.”
Due to the prevalence of graffiti, Brown said that he repairs many of his murals on a regular basis.
“A lot of times if it’s a small thing and I’m not working on anything at the time then I’ll just run over and deal with it and nobody is any the wiser,” Brown said. “It’s been happening for years. Once one person does it, it’s a real inducement for others to do it too.”
York said the murals pose a tricky situation for the town, as they were originally on private property and privately funded. However, as the murals became a part of the town of Chapel Hill, he said the town feels obligated to help with upkeep.
“Like a lot of things, they become part of the feeling of the community,” York said. “They’ve been here for a really long time, people have come to identify them, mural tours have been created – they all had connections to Chapel Hill when they were originally done. I think people have sort of adopted them, gotten used to seeing them.”
Corey LaPrade, an employee at Pantana Bob’s, said customers appear to enjoy the “Paint by Number” mural on the exterior of the restaurant and that restorations, combined with changes to Rosemary Street, will be good.
“People mention it when they come in and I think people do like it,” LaPrade said. “I think the town is doing a good job in making Chapel Hill as pretty as possible and with all these high-rises and stuff I’m sure they are trying to make things as pretty as possible for them. We’re happy about it, I’m not sure if it is going to help business, but it certainly won’t hurt.”
Brown said he has received overwhelming positive responses from locals.
“They come by and talk to me all the time,” Brown said. “They tell me, 'Oh, we love that one,' or, 'Wow, I didn’t know you did this.' I get patted on the back from passers-by morning, noon and night.”