The Twisted Horn restaurant, located at 819 Upshur St, is working on a rear patio area to increase their seating and provide a nice outdoor space for customers. With a patio made out of brick, lots of wood tables and outdoor lights, it should be pretty popular when it opens.
The restaurant has agreed to update their settlement agreement with ANC 4C to ensure the back area closes at 10pm, and will work with nearby residents to place lights and security cameras in the rear alley. While they wait for the required permits and such, they're looking to see how they can customize the back area and make it more interesting.
One long wall of the patio is brick, and Jamie Leeds, the owner of Twisted Horn, has hired local artist Nekisha Durrett to create a unique mural along the wall. I stopped by the Twisted Horn this weekend as Nekisha and two assistants, Mark Garrett and Mark Walker, began work on the mural. The design will take up most of the wall, stretching ten feet or more (a guess on my end, as the mural's design details are still "secret" as they work on the installation).
"Jamie asked me to create a 'twisted fairytale' along the wall," Nekisha told me, "Something that would offer, at a glance, childlike imagery that invites a closer look. When you look closer, you begin to see a darker narrative beneath the surface." Nekisha was grinning when she described the mural, obviously relishing in the opportunity to express her creative approach to Jamie's suggestion. Looking at Nekisha's other work on her website, I'm pretty excited to see the final design.
Nekisha and the two Marks painted primer on the wall on Saturday, and think the rest of the mural will take at least three weeks to complete, depending upon the weather. Different than the popular graffiti-like Petworth mural spray-painted next to Petworth Citizen and Willow Fashion, the mural that Nekisha is working on will use latex paint and will be applied by hand, following tracings that she, Walker and Mark will be drawing upon the wall.
As for color, Nekisha said they're using only two. "The background will be a very dark blue / black color called 'inkwell,' with gold being used for the rest," she said. Ok, so I actually did see a rendering of the final artwork, and it looks awesome. "Twisted and fairytale-like" are a good description, and I think it'll really pop on that wall.
Nekisha is a Petworth resident who's lived on Webster Street for the past 7 years with her wife, Erin. Along with Mark Walker, Nekisha teaches photography, art and culture, and digital media at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts on 11th Street. This is her second mural in Petworth, having worked on the mural on the 3 Trees building on Georgia Avenue. She also painted the cool mural at Mothership, which is now the Alfie's Southeast Asian / Thai restaurant by Alex McCoy at 3301 Georgia Avenue. Having local art being crafted by local residents is a beautiful thing.
Look for more info on the opening of the rear patio and the mural, coming soon.