Drago’s Empire Room Mural

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Mural Location: Drago’s Empire Room, 3521 18th St.

Mural Artist: Robert Dafford

Robert Dafford’s second mural for the Fat City Mural Project include an ode to the neighborhood’s bygone era as well as his characteristic photorealism and perspectival illusionism.

Dafford’s mural includes a painted text miming vintage neon signage (for both the defunct and beloved local entertainment venue Sancho Panza as well as the Fat City neighborhood itself) and quaint details like flower boxes and striped awnings, giving the scene a summery coastal feel. A waterfront scene is painted in the background with families walking along a lane, including a woman who appears to acknowledge the astute viewer.

Dafford is a current resident of Lafayette and has painted over 300 murals across the United States, Canada, France, Belgium, and England. He has been making murals, signs, and paintings for 35 years. In the past 15 years, Dafford has focused much of his output along the Ohio River, painting over 200 large historical images of cities on their floodwalls, using his signature trompe l’œil, advanced perspective, and realist techniques. Dafford is best known for his depictions of the history of the Acadianss; for his murals in Paducah and Covington, KY and Portsmouth, OH; and of course for his giant Clarinet on the facade of the Holiday Inn in New Orleans.