“It was a great gig,” Keane says. “The sort of stuff they wanted – murals of David Bowie, Prince, A-ha – was right up my alley. When I gave them a price, they didn’t balk and just said, ‘When can you start?’”
Over the next four months, Keane painted eight murals inside Player 1 Arcade, which is located near Grand Avenue and Bell Road, each drawing from ’80s music and pop culture and befitting the game bar’s retro vibe.
“It's absolutely fantastic stuff,” says Player 1 co-owner Phil LeMieux. “We were so much in awe of Maggie’s work and wanted it to add to the atmosphere of the place.”
There’s a large portrait of David Bowie as Labyrinth’s Jareth the Goblin King above a pair of sinks in the main room, complete with a pair of convex mirrors mimicking the crystal balls the character dexterously wields.
Party Man,” one of the many hits from the film’s soundtrack.
Inside the family restroom, you’ll find several Ghostbusters murals while the men’s room includes homages to the videos for Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!),” and other music from MTV's golden age.
groundbreaking music video, which featured an interaction between animated sketches and live-action, adorn every inch of the 8-by-10-foot room.
It was inspired by a previous "Take On Me" mural Keane created on an alley wall near her home in Coronado Neighborhood last February.
Keane says LeMieux's wife, Nicole, wanted an expanded version with multiple scenes from the video that would fill an entire room and worked with the artist in its design.
“She wanted people to come through the door and see the video play out from left to right across the room. So the big scene where [A-ha vocalist] Morten Harket is on opposite sides of a mirror with the girl is directly across from where you're sitting doing your business and you can gaze at him,” Keane says, laughing.
Keane has been a fan of A-ha since their '80s heyday and was happy to oblige LeMieux’s request.
“It's been one of my favorite videos of all time since I saw it in 1985,” she says. “I was blown away, because it's based on drawings coming to life, and the song just defines catchiness. It makes me want to dance every time I hear it.”
“It turned into more of a collaborative situation instead of a client dictating what they wanted to an artist,” LeMieux says. “We always knew we wanted Jareth and Prince in some form, and Maggie helped make those happen, but she also brought some good ideas to the table.”
“It was originally going to be something with paisleys, but it was brought up that Prince did songs for the Batman soundtrack,” LeMieux says. “Kevin is a huge Jack Nicholson fan, so we mashed those ideas together and had [a painting of] Prince dropping tokens where we have our token machine next to Nicholson throwing out money like did in the movie.”
Prince also played a role in landing Keane the gig doing Player 1’s murals. Nicole LeMieux, who works in downtown Phoenix, frequently passed by the enormous 2019 mural Keane created in tribute to the late R&B/pop musician along 15th Avenue north of Roosevelt Street.
LeMieux reached out to the artist over social media last spring about possibly painting murals for Player 1 Arcade.
“She just sent me a message on Instagram last spring telling me how much she loved my work and wanted me to come work for them,” Keane says.
“It was great being indoors with air conditioning at the beginning of summer and they brought me lunch every day, fed me chocolate, and I’d just jam out every day to music while working. I wish every mural [experience] could be like that.”
Player 1 Arcade is located at 17239 North Litchfield Road, Unit 60, in Surprise. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and on Thursday.