Since 1927 the Interbake Foods factory has stood near the entrance of RVA along North Boulevard.
Since 1927 the Interbake Foods factory has stood near the entrance of RVA along North Boulevard. While the smell of cookies, once a distinct part of the West-side’s charm, is no longer present, a newer trademark of RVA now adorns the bakery-turned-loft space: a mural by local muralist Mickael Broth.
“They wanted to have something done to make it look attractive and I offered and idea… and they asked when I could start,” said Broth about how he ended up on top of the famed cookie factory with paint brush in hand.
The water tower stands high above the ground and another 50 ft above the roof. Since Sept. 21st, (weather permitting) Broth has been scaling the tower and adding a bit of color to the structure.
The folks who run the building, Rebkee, as well as the Cookie Factory Lofts and Altria, all footed the bill for this one. The project is part of Broth and Friend’s Welcoming Walls Project which aims to increase the artistic profile of Richmond’s main thoroughfares with the help of local muralists.
As for the design of the mural itself, Broth has used his signature high-contrast bright greens and reds to create an abstract piece along the 18 ft cylindrical facade. The artist said he combed the archives of the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society to come up with ideas.
The final work aims to replicate some of the old cookie factory’s past where things like Girl Scout cookies and “other southern style treats” were produced.
“Some of the line work and how the production worked, with conveyer belts and stuff,” Broth said.
It’s not been an easy project, the artist was strapped in by a harness every time he scale the tower. He only had the 18 inch wide catwalk to work on which created another unique problem – one he had to engineer his way out of via a kind of ‘spray-paint-on-a-stick.’
But all the ingenuity in the world couldn’t save Broth from himself as it were:
“You’re paining this thing right next to the wall without stepping back. It’s been challenging. You’ll work there for a couple hours and then step back and go ‘oh wow, that’s totally wrong,” he said. “Technically it’s abstract, and while people don’t know what its supposed to look like, I do. And I’m not gonna walk away from it without it looking perfect in my mind.”
Broth’s actually still working on the piece, but he said it’s almost done. There will be a kind of illumination event planned for when its ready to be on full display, so we’ll let you all know about that when it happens.
Until then, keep up with Broth via instagram here.