In Washington Irving’s classic story, a headless horseman hounded Ichabod Crane through Sleepy Hollow. In Durango, a headless horseman has chased Felix the Cat, a robot and a chicken from the wall of the Everyday convenience store at East Eighth Avenue and College Drive.
A black-and-white photographic image of a headless boy on a pony replaced the mural of cartoon characters during Bastille Day weekend.
It’s called the “Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse,” perhaps since the cropped photo does not show the pony rider’s face, but it’s also named after a 1970s soul album by Eugene McDaniels, said Aaron Schmitt, a local artist who coordinated the project.
People seem more upset about the disappearance of Felix the Cat than they are with the absence of a head.
“No one likes it,” said Rebecca Gilstrap, a cashier at Everyday. “Everybody is saying they like the other one better.”
Ramona Thompson-Acosta remembers seeing people getting out of their cars to take pictures of the original mural, which went up in early April, painted by artists in town for an exhibition on public art at the Durango Arts Center.
“It was artwork, and people really put a lot of effort into that,” Thompson-Acosta said. “It’s just a shame to see it get covered up.”
Some vestiges of the original mural remain, however, in the eyes of the Native American chief and bunny faces in the style of the “Life in Hell” comic strip can be found peeking out from beneath the new wallpapered image.
Schmitt said Jetsonorama, an Arizona artist who created the “Headless Heroes” image, wanted to pay homage to the previous artists. Schmitt, who worked on the original mural, said he got many of the artists’ approval for the successor mural.
While the new image “has gotten mixed reviews,” Schmitt said he wanted to do something different. If people don’t like “Headless Heroes,” they will appreciate that another mural will replace it in four months as part of a regular rotation.
Jim Hendricks, an Everyday customer, is a fan of the “Headless Heroes.”
“It’s elegant yet unpretentious,” Hendricks said. “The last one was a collage. Sometimes those can overwhelm you. With this, you can pause to look at the different textures. You see the action flowing, which is kind of nice. I like it. It’s pretty sweet. It’s not graffit-ized, it’s more like a work of art.”
It’s timely too, he said.
“It’s good for the rodeo season.”