Unique Mural Marks Angie's List Campus in Downtown Indianapolis

Unique Mural Marks Angie's List Campus in Downtown Indianapolis
Angie's List mural depicts pegboard of tools.

Angie's List mural depicts pegboard of tools.

Jon Edwards, one-half of Blice Edwards, a highly rated Indianapolis muralist and custom painting company, spent three-and-a-half weeks on the Angie’s List headquarters campus erecting what looks like a giant pegboard from your grandfather’s workshop.

At one point during the project, his partner, Chris Blice, got a call from a man who said he worked in props for a Los Angeles movie studio and had driven by the site as the mural took shape.

“Where’d you get those giant tools?” he asked.

Those tools came from the mind, chalk and paintbrush of Edwards, whose careful placement and shadowing of the 37 different items on the board bring them to life.

The project is part of a larger plan to lay claim to a four-block area on the city’s Near Eastside that serves as Angie’s List corporate headquarters and main campus. The company first moved in to one building in the area in 1999 and slowly overtook the surrounding buildings in an area slightly larger than the Market, Pine, Washington streets and Highland Avenue block.

Edwards had proposed seven different designs for the two-story building, including a giant Angie Hicks reminiscent of the Kurt Vonnegut mural on Massachusetts Avenue and a billboard-like rendition of the Angie’s List logo.

“This one was the most intricate but it seemed to fit best,” Edwards says of the pegboard. “I wanted something that was relatable to Angie’s List.”

He based the array of tools on his own collection but added in staple items that should be found in most homeowners’ garages or workshops. “That’s my hammer, though, and my screwdrivers,” he says. “Well, almost. I made them look a little bit better than they really do.”

The job took about 160 total hours, with help from Blice and fellow artist Pamela Bliss, who painted the Vonnegut mural. Edwards did the lion’s share of the work.

He started with a plain tan backdrop. He then carefully measured to determine he’d need 22 dots across and 11 dots down to lay in the pegboard. He drew the holes first in chalk to make sure his math was right.

Because the best view of the mural comes from Washington Street, he figured he needed to draw the tools at a 45-degree angle with corresponding shadows so they pop right out of the brick wall and give the appearance of being actual tools hanging on the side of the two-story building. (Remember that LA prop guy? He’s not the only one to give the tools a double-take.)

Dozens of people stopped by to comment on the work as it went up, with several of them expressing doubt that the idea would work. Those doubts have since been erased, Edwards says.

He started dropping in the tools by again drawing first in chalk, eventually disguising two doors with a paintbrush and a cup that holds paintbrushes. He put reflective material on door windows to further blend them with the design. He signed his name to the artwork on a roll of tape on Sept. 30, capping nearly a month of work on the 60-foot-tall, 27-foot-wide surface.

If you’re not driving too fast and you have a good eye, you might also be able to discern one more item on the pegboard that links it to Angie's List, the locally based but nationally significant consumer review and e-commerce marketplace.

At one point every afternoon, the shadows line up perfectly with the sun. As winter approaches, that time slot will shift with the angle of sun, so it might be best (and safer) to park around 2 p.m. at the Hardee’s restaurant across the street and take your time.

Pointing it out would be cheating.

Edwards, 51, has been painting murals for both interior and exterior surfaces for 22 years. You can see more of Blice Edwards’ work just one building east on the Angie’s List campus. It’s a historic mural painted in 2010 and painstakingly dated to the building’s original use.

Other works are scattered in homes across Central Indiana, on the Butler University campus, the Children’s Museum, Good Morning Mama’s café and at the Blice Edwards studios at 1101 E. 54th St.

Want to see how the mural came to life? See more pictures of the process here.

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