Meet the Artist Behind the Giant Giannis Mural

We caught up with Mauricio Ramirez about his three-story Downtown mural of Giannis Antetokounmpo and his other summer projects.

What inspired you to paint Giannis from behind like that?

I wanted to show his name – it’s one of the most recognizable names in NBA history. The shape of it, the way it curves. He’s facing Fiserv Forum, like he’s keeping watch over Downtown. It’s also kind of a Batman pose, which is pretty cool.

Have you met Giannis yet?

Not yet. But he did start following me on Instagram, which is surreal.

You recently finished a mural on the South Side’s Forest Home Clinic. Why did you want to work with them?

A lot of my work is on the South Side. Children’s Wisconsin betters so many lives there and across the whole city. I think of myself doing the same thing, in a way, with visual art. I think a lot of time we need a break from buildings with, you know, the beige and white and introduce some creativity to the youth, brighten someone’s day.


 

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What’s are you working on next?

I’m starting my new Selena mural [after the previous one was demolished in August.] We wanted to keep that alive because it was such an attraction, to have public art that was loved by the city. [The Selena mural was completed in July]

What is your favorite mural in Milwaukee – not painted by you?

I really enjoy the Mural of Peace by Reynaldo Hernandez. It’s such an icon. I’ve seen it since I was the age of five, since I can remember, driving by it every day. Seeing how someone could do that something that scale just boggled me.


 

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s August issue.

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.