back door

IMG_3351This is the mural my brother and his friend Darren painted on the back wall of our bookstore some time in the 90’s. Next door across the breezeway there was a doughnut shop; the building is empty and condemned now cause the landlord wouldn’t fix the roof. Mom had proposed to the doughnut shop owner that a mural be painted on the back of both buildings. Tavis and Darren rendered the coolest scene. It was like a cross between Ralph Bakshi’s: Lord of the Rings and Sergio Aragones: Groo The Wanderer.

The depiction was of the book realm goblins, long limb and potbellied, sprinting away with  falling towers of donuts as the tall, rotund doughnut goblin, in his apron and bakers hat, bared his teeth and angrily waved a rolling pin. I don’t know why a doughnut maker had a rolling pin. It was awesome, delightful, utterly ridiculous. The doughnut shop owner didn’t like it and vetoed the drawing.

Deflated but with paint already bought and walls primed, they lobbed around ideas to mom but none stuck. She had a vague idea of what she wanted but with little time left in the summer they had to paint something quickly.





IMG_3353This is my favorite story about the door. I don’t remember when maybe it was 1999 or 2000? I was up at the front till when my brother walked in from the back entrance with a smirking stride. In the alley there had been some sort of sports wear fashion shoot happening right outside the door. It was blocking Tavis from entering so he hung back and watched. There was a full posturing entourage; busy cellphones and spandex, sunglasses with clipboards. A male and female model doing action poses framing the door. He stood and observed while eyes rolled and guffawed at his onlooking. The director of the shoot hollered ‘We got this! Wrap it up!’ and the crew started packing gear into the vans.

Tavis sidled up to the director and photographer and said ‘What magazine is this for?’  The photographer scowled at him.

‘I only ask cause it’s a really interesting choice using the door.’ Without looking up from his phone the director sighed ‘Yeah uh- huh -sure buddy.’

Tavis replied confidently ‘It’s a bold choice, using the vagina as the feature…’ The director and photographer stiffened and looked up. He continued ‘…the boy reading inside the vagina inside the toads mouth.’ He walked up the door, unlocked it and strode inside.



  1. hahaha! Great story and great artwork there. Awesome it’s still up!

    • lysette said:

      I’m glad you liked it, Faye! So long as we own the building no one is ever going to paint over it!

      My brother did another mural in a back alley as part of this street festival mural painting thing and it was my favorite EVER! But the owner of the building hated it and tried to hide it with dumpsters. When I finally got around to taking a camera down to photograph it, the building owner had painted over it! 😦

      My brother thinks he might have a picture of it somewhere and if he ever finds it I’ll post it. The gist of it though was it was a depiction of me as a one horned goat sitting on the edge of a cliff crying and my brother as one of the fanged wide mouthed frog goblins, smiling and waving ‘Hello!’ to cheer me up. I thought it looked like it was framed with stalactites but my brother said ‘Sure, or the mouth of a monster about to eat them both!’ It was all warm white washed sandy colors; oranges and pinks, light blue and greens. Makes me happy just thinking about it. It was painted on a shitty storage shed.

  2. Love this! And love how well it’s kept over time. I know here lots of murals get tagged or painted over in time – so cool that it’s still there. Love the story too 😉

    • lysette said:

      Hey Claire! It does get graffiti and tagged but not as much as I think other murals in town do. Like in the pic of the boy reading some one put two black eye dots and ran a spray of copper paint along the wall. Some graffiti my brother has cleaned up or washed out and others he’s left as part of it’s own evolution. You’ve got me thinking of all the awesome murals/graffiti in the lane ways of downtown Melbourne -the AC/DC one comes to mind in particular, I loved walking around there, like a free art gallery!

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