A Covington Mural is Complete, 6 Years Later - with Tribute to Mike Amann
It is one of the most visible walls in all of Covington - the north-facing side of the famed Boone Block, which for years - in spite of its massive size - only housed a well-trafficked liquor store with a drive-thru, and occasional other short-lived businesses on its Scott Boulevard side. It was a blighted corner, the once proud building's windows boarded up and its handsome exterior in decay.
Inside, the building looked abandoned, frozen in time, after its last apartment residents vacated more than two decades ago.
But in 2010, the Boone Block got its first taste of new love.
The London Police showed up.
The Amsterdam-based artists slapped one of their famous "lands" - a charming and whimsical cartoon dog-like creature - on that north-facing wall, above the drive-thru, where it is seen by thousands of motorists each week as the afternoon rush hour sends downtown commuters south on Scott.
In 2015, the Boone Block got another dose of love - its biggest dose ever, in fact, when the liquor store was removed and in its place nine luxury townhomes went under construction. In 2016, the project is near completion and eight of those homes have sold with the ninth coming online early next year.
Other than that, there was just one very visible thing left to do: get the lad on the north-facing wall some friends, and finish the mural.
When the Boone Block Lofts project was announced in 2014, it was made clear that the prominent wall would have a unique component to it - maybe some greenery growing on it, or something, and that the lad would stay. Instead, the London Police returned to Covington nine days ago and finished the job.
September 20, 2016 was declared London Police day in the city by Mayor Sherry Carran as about fifty people stood at the southeast corner of Scott & Fourth Street to watch the British pair introduce their new creation which now has about a dozen lads on it, some seemingly entering the world from the belly of some sort of space dog, piloted by Mike Amann, the creative force behind Covington's BLDG gallery. Amann met the London Police in Miami and convinced them to come to Northern Kentucky, an invitation that resulted in the first lad appearing above Dick's Liquors's drive-thru window.
Two years later, in 2012, Amann - whose dream was to make Cincinnati a destination for world class street art - was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. In the late summer of 2013, the London Police returned to Covington for a celebrated dash of placing lads in various spots around town. In November of that year, Amann died.
He was 33.
Now his memory is forever part of what has been called "the living wall" of the Boone Block - a residential project co-represented by real estate agent Joy Amann, Mike's mom. His friends, the London Police, offered words in Amann's honor and then pleased the crowd with a song they wrote during a visit to the Commonwealth, "Kentucky Fried Dog", the lyrics to which seemed to suggest that their beloved dog had been sold to a chicken farm.
That whimsy and silliness - delivered in a perfect harmony - is representative of the work that the London Police leave behind in Covington: a living wall where fun, inspiration, and a memory live indeed.
-Michael Monks, editor & publisher