Richmond muralist Mickael Broth is at it again with two new murals on Belmont

by | Jun 2, 2015 | ART

Street artist, muralist, night owl, ex-vandal, skateboarder, writer- those are just a few words to describe well-known Richmond artist Mickael Broth.

Street artist, muralist, night owl, ex-vandal, skateboarder, writer- those are just a few words to describe well-known Richmond artist Mickael Broth.

The 32-year-old literally made his mark in Richmond painting large scale art forms all over this town, from inside and outside of Mellow Mushroom, to 15 bike ramps for this year’s Dominion Riverrock, to a Richmond Kickers mural, even gracing RVA Magazine’s 10th anniversary cover with his colorful, trippy artwork.

Broth (pictured above) stays busy painting a few murals across town each month and most recently his work has taken him to Belmont in the alley between Nine Roses Jewelers and Katie Blue Salon. The mural doesn’t have a title just yet, but depicts the businesses, people and community in the area. From an angry butcher with a knife and pig in jogging suit for Belmont Butchery, Broth said it was a collaborative effort to reflect that block.

“This was a project that was done in conjunction with Hands on Greater Richmond, a volunteer coordination organization,” Broth said.

He started the Belmont mural May 27th on the side of Nine Roses Jewelers with about 20 volunteers from Altria as part of its community engagement initiative.

“This whole design is a Rube Goldberg-esque design,” he said. Goldberg was a famous cartoonist in the 1920s and ‘30s who drew cartoons of complicated machines completing simple tasks.

“Most people our age probably think of mouse trap, that game,” Broth said. “Nine roses has this cat on the wall so the machine in the mural starts out with Felix’s arm coming through the wall and pulling open the shades.”

There’s also a connection to Tom French Flowers who sits on the same block. Broth said a connection to at least one of the salons there will also go on the mural.

Across the street, Broth has another mural (top image) that he started about three weeks earlier for Bear Granville Corporation. The real estate firm contacted him a couple months ago to design a wall for them.

“It’s a big wall it’s across from the library there’s a fairly attractive woman that I painted on it she’s 26 feet,” he said. “It’s a depiction of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, also goddess of arts and crafts and military strategy.”

Broth said a three dimensional element will soon be added to that mural.

“Athena in the mural is holding a hanging pot and its full of flowers having friend fabricate a three-dimensional planter that will mimic the pot and that will be filled with live plants.”

Most of his projects are done within a few days, which Broth said is just his style.

“I’ll say I do paint fast I don’t take many breaks, I’m pretty obsessive about finishing when I start something,” he said.

The Springfield, VA, native said he’s done about 20 to 30 murals in the city, and about another 20 to 30 outside Richmond in the last three years and they can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000 depending on the project.

Broth’s creative artwork has garnered him much praise, but also come back to bite him. He served a 10-month sentence in July 2004 for a graffiti tag on a CSX train bridge over I-295 in Hanover County.

“I got arrested when I was 21,” he said. “It was the word refuse and my buddy wrote the word seek.”

Once incarcerated, Broth had to be even more creative to keep his skills up.

“All I had access to was legal paper and a ball point pen,” he said. “The ball point pens they have are like 3-inch long flexy things,” he said.

Broth said he also learned some tricks of the trade from other inmates.

“Taking bottle caps from sodas and fill it with a little bit of water and drop like M&Ms and Skittles into them and use a Q-tip to paint it in,” he said.

Despite being confined to a cell, Broth said having little to work with improved his style.

“That’s where my artistic style really developed is being limited like that, it’s why years afterward I worked with pen and ink,” he said.

He completed his degree from VCU while in jail and after his release in May 2005, Broth continued to work on paper for years. It wasn’t until around 2012 that Broth got back into murals again.

“The first street art festival came around I was helping Ed Trask out with a bunch of his projects,” he said.

Trask is another well-known Richmond muralist and co-creator of the RVA Street Art Festival. Broth said he’s wrapping up another collaboration with him right now.

Right now, Broth is working on his Welcoming Walls project which is a initiative to get public art along the highways and gateways of the city.

He said he has other artwork coming down the pipeline, but he isn’t revealing too much just yet.

“There’s a few other projects lined up for the summer, but people will just have to wait and see for that,” he said.

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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