Thanks to new mural, Bob Dylan sets up permanent residence in downtown Fargo
Mural is on side of former Bison Hotel where the singer hung out in 1959.
FARGO — Angie Granheim won’t open her new store, Ninja Skate, for a few more weeks, but she’s already turning heads outside her Broadway shop.
People aren’t looking in the windows as much as they are looking at the southwest corner of the building at 413 Broadway, the former Bison Hotel.
Just around the corner from the front door stands Bob Dylan. A very large Bob Dylan.
Granheim brought in her friend, Los Angeles painter Jules Muck , to create a two-and-a-half-story mural of the great singer/songwriter.
The black and white painting depicts a younger Dylan as if he’s leaning against the wall, his hands folded over a newspaper and smoking a cigarette.
Granheim says that when property owner Tony Coronato was giving her a tour of the building, he noted that Dylan spent time hanging out in the hotel lounge when he lived in Fargo in 1959 . So when she was talking to Muck about the possibilities for a mural, that detail stuck.
“She mentioned the history of the building and I said, ‘We have to do Bob Dylan,’” Muck says.
The artist is on a cross-country trip, accepting invitations to create murals along the way.
She painted the Dylan mural in about two hours around June 9.
“The planning took way longer,” Muck says from her car after leaving Iowa and a handful of new murals. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I have the confidence to do it faster.”
She says she’s been painting since 1996 and estimates she’s completed about 10,000 murals in that time.
“I know that sounds crazy,” she says.
Muck tagged the Dylan mural with her Muck Rock signature on the newspaper folded under his arms.
“She’s known as one of the top muralists in Los Angeles,” Granheim says.
A look at her Instagram page indicates she’s created 13 murals since leaving Fargo.
The Dylan painting isn’t the only mark she left in town. Muck also created a mural for Ninja Skate on the shop wall and painted a number of skateboard decks to commemorate her stop.
“I wanted to help a small business getting started,” she says.
Granheim says Muck and her hound dog Dada -- seen in the artist’s Instagram photo of the mural -- may loop back through Fargo later and is trying to line up funding to have her paint a skyline mural on the north side of the building, though there’s already a mural of animals there.
Granheim credits Coronato for being open to the idea, Sherwin Williams for donating paint and and even RentAll for a discount on renting the scissor lift for making the mural possible.
Muck has painted murals of a number of celebrities, but this is the first of Dylan, making it a particularly fun project.
She’s a fan of the musician and says she wants his cover of “You Belong to Me” played at her funeral.
Still known by his birth name, Robert Zimmerman, Dylan moved to Fargo in 1959 after graduating from high school in Hibbing, Minn. While spending that summer in Fargo, he held a few odd jobs and spent time playing piano in Bobby Vee’s band, the Shadows, but was ultimately let go after a few shows because the band couldn’t afford a piano player.
Dylan had Vee paged at the Fargo Civic Center when he played there in 2012 and the two caught up backstage. When Dylan played St. Paul the next summer, he uncharacteristically reminisced fondly about his friendship with Vee.
While in Fargo, he often went by the name Elston Gunnn and would adopt the name Bob Dylan after moving to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota that fall.