If you pass by the recently defaced Kurt Vile mural in Fishtown today, you may feel as though you’ve traveled back in time. That’s because the work of art has been restored.
“The whole Kurt Vile thing is very important to [this] neighborhood,” said Randy Cook, who is a partner with the building's leaser David Grasso. “We’ve always appreciated how special the mural is. It was interesting to see the public outcry so we knew we had to do something to get it back to where it was.” Grasso, Cook and the folks behind Pitruco Pizza are currently rehabbing this building, which was previously a whiskey distillery, to transform it into a new restaurant/bar concept that will be "similar to Roberta's" – the popular NYC pizza joint. The pair hope to open in four months.
Commercial painter Mike Chobert, who owns the buildings where the mural is painted (1353 N. Front St. and 1355 N. Front St.), was able to come up with an simple fix. Lee Mayjahs, who admitted to painting over the mural in the first place, used an interior latex paint that was easy to remove with a power washer. On Thursday, Chobert took his hose over to the lot and restored the original work created by artist Stephen “ESPO” Powers.
News traveled quickly and Powers posted his appreciation via Instagram:
"Guess who's back? Its not beanie, jay-z or fitty, Its Cool Kurt Vile not Conway Twitty. THANK YOU David Grasso who made a power move with the power washer, Thank you @connorbarwin98 for the flick and @realkurtvile the ICY Man in iceland. Lee is looking out with the lift and some lift so we'll we'll go forth after the Fourth. #MERICA"