INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A mural in Fountain Square is causing controversy.
On Friday the mural of former basketball player Larry Bird was up and gaining momentum on social media.
By Sunday, artist Jules Muck says she received an email from Larry Bird’s team asking her to remove it citing unauthorized promotional value to her brand and to the six trademarks owned by Bird.
The mural is based off a photograph but shows Bird with a number of tattoos including the word Indiana, a basketball and an image of mating bunnies.
The bunnies are a signature of California based artist Jules Muck.
She says they represent the irony of censoring animals and not the more disturbing images shown in the media.
Larry Bird’s mural is not the first time this artist has come under fire.
Last year, Muck’s bunny painting at Beholder restaurant on East 10th Street drew mixed reviews and the painting was removed.
According to Muck, the owner of the multi-family home at the intersection of Prospect and Laurel streets commissioned Muck for a painting.
Muck says as far as she knows, the owner has not been contacted about the mural.
Still, she says she chose the former basketball player for a reason.
“He’s wearing colors that match the building. It felt to me that it was aesthetically perfect. I also felt if I’m going to paint Larry Bird, I’m going to paint Larry Bird in Indianapolis. That being said, I wasn’t trying to make a prestigious fancy piece. I also have fun with my work and I kind of like to make people laugh,” said Jules.
News 8 reached out to an attorney from Bird’s team.
He says the image is not consistent with Bird’s brand, but that he’s working with Muck to modify the mural without affecting her creative right.
As for Muck, she thinks it’s a great piece and says she never meant to offend anyone.
Both Muck and Bird’s team hope they can come to a resolution to keep it in Indianapolis.
If they can’t come to a solution, the mural will most likely be removed.