Since May 2019, a new mural decorates Nellie’s Sports Bar in Washington DC. With two pride flags and two ducks – also in rainbow colors – Washington DC has a new queer mural. Why ducks? They are a recurring motive of Nellie’s Sports Bar which has been chosen for the artwork for a good reason: The bar has always been supportive of queer events, for example it currently offers drag brunches every Saturday and Sunday.
The artist behind the mural is Lisa Marie Thalhammer who has already received multiple awards. Her works often feature strong women or convey a queer pride message by including respective portraits, symbols and colors. She had already started using her art for sociopolitical and activist purposes while studying at the Art Institute of Chicago and when completing her Bachelor in Visual Arts at the University of Kansas with a focus on women’s studies and art history. Many awards, collaborations, and publications in well-known magazines and other media characterize her career.
The Nellie’s Ducky mural is Lisa Marie Thalhammer’s third artwork in Washington DC. The most popular one is the mural LOVE in Blagden Alley from 2017, which shows the letters of the word love in rainbow colors. The other is based on the logo of the Washington Capitals ice hockey team, also called All Caps. Of course, this mural also features the rainbow colors of the pride flag. One of her most recent projects is the design draft for the special edition Spirit of Stonewall by Stoli Wodka. The design resembles a mural and includes many queer pride symbols such as familiar slogans, hand signs and the typical rainbow colors.
Besides art, Lisa Marie’s second passion is yoga. She describes her approach to life and her artistic motivation in the following quote:
There are many types of love including romantic, physical, familial, friendship and self-love but the most powerful and radical type is an unconditional spiritual universal love for the planet and all sentient beings, which the Greeks call Agape or Buddhists call Metta. This type of love is unconditional and without expectation and can relieve negative states of mind when focused upon. As an artist, I feel it is my job to reimagine a better world free of the toxicity that results from our current cultural love deficiency. Through the visual language of color and public art, I believe that yes, we can shift our psychology and create a more equitable world.
Lisa Marie Thalhammer