PORTSMOUTH – If you have recently driven or walked past the location of the upcoming skate park (located on 4th Street between Jefferson and Madison), you’ve likely seen renowned local artist Charlie Haskins working on the latest floodwall mural.
Earlier this year, Haskins was commissioned to paint on the 4th Street floodwall by both the Scioto Foundation and City of Portsmouth.
“(Community development director) Tracy Shearer contacted me,” explained Haskins. “So, I put together a few mockups. I knew I wanted something different, but also reflective of Portsmouth with some added folklore.”
The project went forward with Haskin’s ‘Moon’ rendering. The mural illustrates a personified moon hovering above a whimsical town. The moon has been a common theme in Haskin’s other paintings throughout his career as well.
“I have an affinity for the moon,” said Haskins. “If you are around my very much, you’ll hear me play the REM song ‘Man on the Moon’ on repeat.”
‘Man on the Moon’ is a song about famed late comedian Andy Kaufman. But, according to Haskins, it’s also about the power of belief.
“Kaufman was such as showman. With him, you had to choose what you thought was real or an act,” explained Haskins. “The song also questions if the space landing was real and if you believe in the man on the moon. It’s all a game about belief.”
“Many people look at the moon and see a face. Our brains are wired to see it – to personify our world,” said Haskins. “If you want it to be there, it’s there. I think there’s a lot of hope in that. It’s a spiritual thing. The moon travels around watching everyone, checking in on them.”
In the mural, the moon smiles wide over top a town depicted to be very much like Portsmouth.
“It isn’t precisely Portsmouth,” laughed Haskins. “But it has a Portsmouth flavor. There are some local references that are sprinkled throughout for sure.”
The mural is designed for residents to pick out Haskin’s subtle easter eggs – including a shoutout to the Portsmsouth Street Art Project, Haskin’s House and more.
“I’m super excited for people to come down and see this and be a part of it,” said Haskins. “It’s such a cool section of town down here. I hope the skate park really helps to develop this section of the City. There’s room for bands, murals, and it would be a great community spot.”
Haskins is hoping to finish the mural by the end of October. Until then, you can check out his artwork on his Facebook Page, website, or at Haskin’s House on 2nd Street. He has also recently been featured on the Local Legends and Creative Brick Road podcasts. His artwork is also currently on display at Casa Nueva in Athens, Ohio.
The Portsmouth artist stays busy with custom commissions, his own creative outputs, and even teaching art full time for Green Local Schools. But, he never takes his success for granted.
“I’ve been painting since I was a kid. And I love our floodwall murals. To join artists (Robert) Dafford and (Herb) Roe – wow! It’s such a cool opportunity. It means a lot that they asked me to do this and that they let me do it in my own personal style…It feels like a dream come true.”