Mural photo 2
Fernung is painting the mural out of respect for Manchester University and a love for the art of graffiti. He has been interested in graffiti since he was a child.
Photo provided by Chloe Leckrone

Tanner Fernung Paints Graffiti Mural Outside Otho Winger Hall

Emma Buuck

Senior art minor Tanner Fernung is leaving his mark on Manchester both literally and figuratively through the art of graffiti. He’s painted the brick wall of Otho Winger Hall facing the Academic Center with a gold and black Manchester tag—and “Manny” icon.

Fernung has been interested in graffiti ever since he was a little boy. He surprised his mother by painting on his bedroom walls, and in both middle and high school, he spent any extra time he had with his art teacher Mr. Huntly, who taught him the different techniques and eventually introduced him to the work of Banksy, a street artist in London. Fernung took most of his inspiration from Banksy (whose identity remains a secret), going so far as to name his German Shepherd after the mysterious artist.

Although Fernung chose exercise science as his major, he still was drawn to art. During his freshman year, Professor Oke saw his potential in her art class approached him to consider adding an art minor. Then, the summer of sophomore year he got his first opportunity to paint on a wall in Tipton, Ind., for the Main Street Alley project. Since then, he received even more and bigger projects, with six completed murals in Tipton, three of which are at Tipton High School; a grain bin in Miami County; and a couple in the park of South Whitley.

The biggest job he ever received was to paint two murals for the grand opening of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in Indianapolis. This was personal for Fernung because he loved Vonnegut’s work.

This mural was made out of respect for Manchester University and for the art of graffiti. Fernung wanted to show that graffiti is not a form of vandalism, but a beautiful art. “I have even been approached by police because they thought I was vandalizing, but I was actually working, ” Fernung said. “This graffiti mural represents how things change and evolve over time.”

Because of the potential for his work to be misconstrued as vandalism, his graffiti is usually rushed. “I can do these murals pretty fast, but so far, the only thing that is holding me back is having to move the scaffolding every day,” Fernung said. This mural brings together everything Fernung has learned from his lifetime as an artist, from the cursive writing to having to use math to keep the letters and Manny centered.