Tree Town Murals founder Mary Thiefels was profiled in the Michigan Daily on March 18, 2015. Read an excerpt below, or view the article on MichiganDaily.com.
Artist Profile: Mary Thiefels makes street art collaborative
By RACHEL KERR, Daily Arts Writer
Published March 18, 2015
I walk down East Washington Street toward a brick building with blocks of bright colors painted around its doorway. I ring the bell and quickly come face to face with a woman wearing an easy smile. I reach out my hand to greet her, but I’m instead embraced by an enthusiastic German Shepherd (whose name I later learn is Miss Lilian Moosecow, or just “Moose”). No formalities here, it seems.
The woman is Mary Thiefels, founder of Tree Town Murals, “a mural art company in public art, corporate murals and private spaces,” she explained. She’s worn many other hats, though: student at both Pioneer and Community High School, waitress at Jerusalem Garden, bartender at Café Zola and, currently, Visual Arts Coordinator at local nonprofit the Neutral Zone, whose offices I happen to be comfortably seated in. When she speaks, it’s with an obvious affection for her art – specifically, murals – and an intimate knowledge of her hometown – Ann Arbor.
“For years, when I was in high school, there was just a bunch of miscellaneous tag art. There was even profanities,” she explained. “But otherwise, there was nothing really inspiring happening.”
But, of course, Thiefels changed all that. After graduating high school, she began taking advanced studio art classes, studying color theory and life drawing with renowned community artists such as Fred Horowitz and John Lockard. At the age of 19, she created her first mural on Felch Street within a local railroad underpass, a “bridge between neighborhood and city center,” she said. 19 was also the age Thiefels and her friends were arrested for malicious destruction of property.