Happy birthday, Mac Miller.
The late rapper would have turned 28 today, January 20. To celebrate, Pittsburgh was one of three cities, along with Los Angeles and New York, that honored Miller in a special way this past weekend.
A new album, “Circles,” from Miller and his collaborator Jon Brion, dropped on January 17 and a listening party and pop-up gallery with photos and memorabilia lit up the North Side over the weekend. To top it off, Pittsburgh artist Jeremy Raymer created a wonderful mural of Miller that captures his likeness and spirit.
Thousands visited the pop-up multimedia gallery, produced by Mirrored Media, on Friday and Saturday while listening parties at scheduled times attracted full houses at the beautifully renovated Blacksmith Shop on Middle St. The space, dubbed the Listening Room, was furnished with comfy sofas and floor cushions strewn on oriental rugs.
Fans tapped their feet and nodded to the music as they sat in silence listening to the 53-minute long album — all at once, the way it was meant to be heard, said a greeter. The album “Circles” which is receiving wide critical acclaim, is a companion to Mac Miller’s Grammy-nominated “Swimming.”
The Mac Miller mural
“There are quite a few renditions of Mac that have gone up,” says Raymer. “I wanted to do something a bit different. It’s kind of like a three-quarters profile view, a quintessential ‘distant gaze’ look that I like to do in my work. It’s like he’s tipping his cap to the city of Pittsburgh.”
The mural was painted at the corner of James Street and East Ohio Street in Deutschtown.
Raymer’s work has become rather ubiquitous in Pittsburgh over the past few years. He created the Roberto Clemente mural nearby in East Deutschtown, a huge Homer Simpson on a shipping container in Lawrenceville and the Magneto mural in the Strip.
Any skill that he has acquired, Raymer attributes to practice. He says he’s spent “close to 10,000 hours” spray painting over the past five years and has completed about 80 murals so far.
It’s a second career for Raymer.
“I was a senior test engineer at Westinghouse,” he says. “It transitioned from a hobby to doing commissions. In 2016, I had a little momentum. I resigned from Westinghouse and have been doing it full-time for five years.”
This article was updated on January 20.