A tribute to Tyre Nichols: Local artist paints mural in North Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A local artist is the latest to pay tribute to Tyre Nichols. A massive mural of Nichos now covers the side of a building in North Memphis.

The artist behind the painting, David Yancy, is known for his other murals around the city, including the often-Instagrammed “I Love 901″ mural near Downtown Memphis.

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He said he was inspired to take on the project, which shows Tyre Nichols smiling, after learning about all they had in common.

“I found a lot more similarities. He’s a skateboarder, I’m a skateboarder,” Yancy said. “I feel like we would have ended up meeting each other at some point if he didn’t have his life taken away.”

Yancy said as he watched the case unfold and learned more about Nichols, he started to see himself.

“That could have been me. I could have lost my life,” he said. “That could have happened to anyone.”

He said he expressed his feelings on the case in the way he knew best: art. First, by decorating a skateboard, which was given to Nichols’ family. Then came the opportunity for a much larger project.

“Steve A. Castle, the owner of that building, reached out to me,” Yancy said. “He had seen some of my murals around town. He got a hold of me and said he would really like to do a tribute piece for Tyre.”

Yancy said Castle supplied him with the paint, then, with the blessing of Nichols’ family, he worked through the weekend to put it up. He considers it his gift to the family.

“A lot of Tyre’s images, him in the hospital bed, beaten and bruised, brought a negative impact. The video brought a negative impact,” he said. “This mural, being able to bring a positive impact, is a blessing in itself.”

Yancy’s decision to focus on the positive impacts of Tyre Nichols’ life is best shown through the smile depicted on his face. It’s one Yancy hopes will inspire happiness in all who see it.

“I want them to be able to see Tyre’s smile, I want them to see that joy on his face on that mural,” he said. “I hope it spreads joy throughout the community to whoever sees it.”

If you want to see the mural for yourself, it is located at Steve A. Castle’s House of Rhythm and Blues on Jackson Avenue.