Panther Tracks

Super Bowl trophy would help artist finish Panthers mural

Artist George Howard hopes to add a Super Bowl trophy to this mural at Red Sea Grocery in Charlotte’s Wilmore neighborhood.
Artist George Howard hopes to add a Super Bowl trophy to this mural at Red Sea Grocery in Charlotte’s Wilmore neighborhood. ahelms@charlotteobserver.com

Could a slow stretch in the tattoo business have helped nudge the Panthers to Super Bowl 50?

Hey, it’s the season for crazy speculation, so why not. Here’s the story:

A couple of years ago, artist George Howard’s brother bought a house in Charlotte’s Wilmore neighborhood, across Mint Street from the Red Sea Grocery. He found the beige wall dull, and told Howard he’d pay for supplies if Howard would decorate the wall.

Howard, now 29, says he got the owner’s permission and, with Bank of America stadium less than a mile up the road, went to work on a Panthers mural. He earns his livelihood doing tattoos, he said, and he had time during a winter slump in business.

The result is a blue-eyed, sharp-fanged Panther snarling over an elaborately-lettered “Charlotte.”

Howard says he has heard that visiting team buses drive by the store on their way to the stadium, and he hopes his mural spooks them.

“If you ask me,” he said, “that’s probably why they’re in the Super Bowl.”

Howard has been tinkering with the background off and on and considers his painting unfinished. Come Monday, he said, he hopes to start work adding a skyline and a Super Bowl trophy.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms

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