The Stella Artois Mural Ad at monOrchid Was Removed — Here's Why

The Art of the Chalice mural was tagged at the monOrchid building in downtown Phoenix.
The Art of the Chalice mural was tagged at the monOrchid building in downtown Phoenix. Lynn Trimble
The Stella Artois mural advertisement installed at monOrchid in April is gone. In its place, passersby now see the Brian Boner mural it once covered. The change happened on Saturday, June 3, says monOrchid owner Wayne Rainey.

The Stella Artois piece featured artwork by San Francisco artist Travis Bedel (formerly of Phoenix), who set the company’s chalice amid desert plants and creatures.

Boner’s mural, created with Rainey and Phoenix artist Jon Linton
, is about homelessness, and features imagery that includes a large flock of birds.

Stella Artois installed the temporary mural-style banner over Boner’s artwork in late April as part of a nationwide campaign called The Art of the Chalice.

Basically, it functioned as a hybrid artwork and advertisement for the beer brand, although Rainey clearly considers it solely a work of art. "It's not an ad," he says of the piece.

The company paid monOrchid an undisclosed sum to use the building’s exterior west-facing wall, where it planned to keep the piece in place for three months.

Instead, it lasted just less than six weeks.

That’s because it was tagged with black spray paint.

Krissy Emanuele, catering and events manager for monOrchid and Conceptually Social catering company, discovered the tagging when she arrived for work on Thursday, June 1.

The tagging included several phrases, including "This is an ad" and "This is not art."

The following day, New Times received a statement from Harry Lewis, vice president of marketing at Stella Artois, by email. It expressed his disappointment that "someone chose to disrespect the artwork in this way" and affirmed that Stella Artois was working with monOrchid "to rectify the situation."

click to enlarge Looking east toward monOrchid on Tuesday, June 6. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Looking east toward monOrchid on Tuesday, June 6.
Lynn Trimble
At that point, Rainey was still hoping the piece could be salvaged.

“We went out Friday before the art walk and covered up the hate and ugly stuff,” Rainey says of the small group that helped him paint over the tagging. “We did the best we could to make it look presentable.”

But ultimately, Rainey wasn’t happy with the results.

“It was cool to try, but when we all stepped back to take a look at it, we realized it didn’t do justice to the artist,” Rainey says. “Then I started to think, what if this was my work?”

Stella Artois echoed Rainey’s sentiments. “We couldn’t really fix the damage, so we weren’t doing any service to the artist,” says a representative for the beer brand who prefers to go unnamed.

So, Rainey and Stella Artois agreed the mural should come down.

“We are looking for a new place in the city for the mural,” a Stella Artois representative told New Times on Tuesday, June 6. At this point, they've only confirmed that they plan to use the same artwork created for the original piece.

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble