Mural redux: Minnesota sign painter keeping art form alive

With every brush stroke, Mike Meyer is practicing the art of keeping history alive.

But the canvas for this project he is working on with his son Caleb is giving him a case of deja vu.

"Now it's my time to do it. Keep it the same design as it was, but we changed it to look more vintage," said Meyer.

Thirty years ago, Meyer designed and helped paint a mural on the side of the Hay Creek Saloon at the Hay Creek Campground to replace a faded ad that had been there for years.

He was one of 125 sign painters, or Letterheads as they are called, who contributed to the painting as part of their convention in Minnesota back in 1993.

A mural being painted on the oldest building in Goodhue County is breathing new life into the structure built in the 1800s.

"Driving by it all the time and seeing the dilapidated ad, I was like ‘Boy! Someone should do something about it’ and being with other sign painters and Letterheads and seeing what was done in other countries. I was like we could do something like that here," said Meyer.

The building's owners say there have been a handful of hand-painted ads on the red brick wall almost since the building was built in 1887.

When they bought the business three years ago, they had to sandblast off the mural the Letterheads had painted to re-tuckpoint the wall.

So they decided to bring Meyer back to paint a new one in its place on what has become a local landmark. 

"The building has a lot of history and it's kind of one of those things. It's kind of a sentimental thing. It was on here for 30 years and to get him back to repaint it was a pretty cool thing to have," said saloon co-owner Gareth Brickzin.

Meyer says he learned about sign painting from his father, so when it comes to passing on that knowledge to his own son, Meyer says the writing is on the wall.

"If you are not desperate for the work, just go out and do the best job you can and don't think about the money and all that. It will come back to you ten times over. Let the work speak for itself," said Meyer.