SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – You’d be hardpressed to find anyone who understands the vibe and feel of Utah’s capital city better than Sugar House resident Bryant Heath.
“Each neighborhood has its own character like the Avenues has its own unique architecture and just the feel of the Avenues is so much different than Sugar House with the bungalows and the commercial district down off 2100 South, and that’s different than Rose Park or Glendale,” Heath explains to ABC4.com.
The reason he knows so much about each of SLC’s dozen or so different neighborhoods; he’s run through every single street in Salt Lake City.
Starting in January 2020, Heath, an avid runner, began a project to see every street in SLC by foot. It took him 118 runs to complete his 994-mile journey in December. Along the way, he took mental notes of interesting sites that he had seen on his runs and took an interest in the diversity of the mural paintings he saw throughout the area. Heath estimates that he has seen over 400 murals in over 280 different sites in Salt Lake City.
“You have like interesting kind of graffiti text that some people produce and then you have portraitures or characters that are a wide vast spectrum of different styles,” Heath says, calling the diversity of mural types as vast as the different neighborhoods in Salt Lake.
Heath has since taken his observations and gathered them into another project, a Google Map that shows the location of each mural in the city, broken down by neighborhood and accompanied by a photo of the artwork. Driving around and taking pictures of all the art around town has become a family affair. Heath enjoys taking his 4-year-old daughter with him to search for murals and she’s become pretty adept at finding them.
“She loves it, she’s like a mural hunter now, always on the lookout,” he laughs. “Whenever I’m driving her around, she’s like ‘Dadda, dadda! There’s a mural!'”
Here are Heath’s favorite Salt Lake City murals, by neighborhood or area, and why he likes each one:
Famous Jazz Figures
You can look at this, and I have done probably half a dozen times, and you pick up on different interesting tidbits. Dr. Dunkenstein up top in the text and Godzilla for Gobert on the right hand side with his extended arm for a blocked shot like. Every time you look at it you pick up on something different. There’s just so much going on.
I feel like that one is like really one of the more well known ones, both because like the scale, it’s just so incredibly large and that it’s in that district. That 200 S 200 E are, if you go through those alleyways, you have dozens upon dozens upon dozens of different artwork and murals, and those alleyways. This big landmark is one that draws people in so that they can explore all the artwork in that particular kind of collection in that area.
I’m a sucker for giant portraitures, Exhibit A: that large Virgin Mary one. Obviously the coloring on this is the most interesting part. I just really enjoyed this one. It’s in a great area where you can see off the major streets. The coloring and the shapes, I really appreciate them.
It’s this incredible landscape of Utah and I like how there’s like a bit of a commentary. He has the open land for sale sign, it’s like all this debate about public land usage, Who is this public land is exactly for?He touches on that a little bit. Should this be developedfor commercial purposes or should this be enjoyed by all? Having this beautiful scene and then the sign I think is very, very poignant.
Atlas Aquatic Scene
The detail is just incredible. You can see it from, basically a mile away just by how large it is. Knowing after the fact that it was all done with spray paint is just remarkable. I’ve seen hundreds of these murals and I still don’t know how murals really get constructed, it just seems a lot of black magic, but knowing that this was done with spray paint just blows my mind.
Sugar House Circa 1940
The thing I like most is the hyperrealism. That’s exactly how that area looked in that era with monument in the center, near the plaza off 1100 E and 2100 S. It’s interesting, you get a vantage point of what it used to look like from the mural and then you know you literally drive a block down, and you get to see what it looks like now. So having that dichotomy between the past and the present is pretty interesting.
Again, I’m a sucker for large portraitures and this one is gigantic. I think it’s a good nod to the diversity of culture of the west side. Very poignant. I don’t speak Spanish but “No se vende” is “Not for sale,” if i’m not mistaken. So it’s a powerful image with a powerful message and that’s what I liked most about it.
That area has a lot of microbreweries down there and distilleries and small shops as well. If you walk around there, you notice the different murals so the ram one in particular I like in front of Clever Octopus, a really cool store. I just like the coloring on the ram, and it’s kind of eccentric, and having the geometric pattern, of course, is just very eye catching.
That’s the most fun one, and there’s not too many murals in Millcreek. It’s on the side of a Big O Tires and if you’ve driven on 3300 S, no doubt you’ve seen it. Maybe you scratch your head about it like ‘Is that a giant bigfoot?’ but you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s pretty cool!’ It’s really nicely done and it extends on two buildings. It’s pretty unique that they did that, but I just think it’s just a really fun mural.