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Springfield Welcomes New Simpsons Mural

OPB | Aug. 21, 2014 4:12 p.m. | Updated: Aug. 23, 2014 1:19 p.m.

Monday morning, Springfield, Oregon will unveil a new public art project dedicated to the show that unites Springfields everywhere.

courtesy of the City of Springfield

Simpsons creator Matt Groening kept millions of fans in suspense for years, refusing to say exactly which of the dozens of towns named Springfield are the true fictional home of Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie.

But we all knew it was Lane County’s Springfield, right? And Groening confirmed this two years ago in an interview with Smithsonian magazine.

Since last Thursday a team has been working on a city-commissioned mural depicting the Simpsons which will grace the West Side of the Emerald Arts Center. The project is being overseen by Erik Nicolaisen. He grew up in Portland, and he went to the University of Oregon for college. He now lives in L.A., where he runs a mural company and moonlights as an actor .

He can recall the early days watching the show, back when it was on the Tracey Ullman show. "I remember the first time seeing the Simpsons and it was just kind of mind-blowing stuff."

Nicolaisen's company was contacted by the city and encouraged to apply. "I think they just wanted somebody who could recreate the imagery to a T...Fox is actually sending their Vice President of Animation to come up and oversee the painting of this. That's how serious they are about things looking as they should."

But even with the corporate types breathing down his neck, Nicolaisen's excited at the opportunity. "It's a cool project. You don't get asked to do these long-standing pieces very often and when you do, they're usually signs or something like that. So to do a piece that's Oregon-centric and done by a local Oregon kid, Matt Groening, who's an international legend...it's really once in a lifetime."

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