Druid City Brewery in Tuscaloosa is famous on the college football internet for its chalk art, which parodies all sorts of pop culture in the name of Alabama football.
For example, here’s a spoof of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water album, featuring Nick Saban and Bear Bryant. You can see the album cover to the left of the art:
Here's a little something to help you over that Bridge over Troubled Waters that is the football offseason. Come by and see it in person - we open at 4. pic.twitter.com/sXJgVxWOiI— Druid City Brewing (@DruidCityBrew) February 1, 2018
One of the murals that put Druid City on the internet map was this Bama take on Michelangelo’s The Creation Of Adam in the Sistine Chapel:
“I was talking to an artist one day and I was like, ‘You know what would be funny?’ and then we did it,” Bo Hicks, Druid City’s owner and brewmaster, told SB Nation. “And then it just really blew up and then I just realized how fun being irreverent about college football, and especially Alabama. Fandom is something that people take so seriously, it’s like, hey man, let’s just have some fun with it.”
Most of the art is done by Alabama-based artist Rich Marcks.
“There’s been a couple that we’ve had outside ideas,” Hicks said, “but between that it’s basically just us standing around, a couple of beers in, going, ‘You know, what’d be funny?’”
One of the most recent depicts Saban as Thanos, with a bunch of national title rings to replace the Infinity Stones.
The painting American Gothic, reworked to feature SEC homer Paul Finebaum as Saban’s loving spouse, was another big hit:
One of the murals that went viral even ruffled some feathers.
Ahead of SEC Media Days in 2016, here was Saban (with his beloved Little Debbies) surrounded by fellow SEC head coaches in Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper:
“Anytime anybody asked me, giving interviews and stuff, I would be like, ‘We’re not being sacrilegious. We’re parodying a famous piece of art,’” Hicks said. “But also being in Alabama, and people that interviewed us really wanted clicks, so of course the headline is Nick Saban is Jesus Christ? We got phone calls. People were very upset at us. But also, I was sort of OK with that because I mean, it is sort of pointing out that some people will treat it as a religion, at Alabama and other places.”
There are so many other good ones.
This one featuring Alabama basketball head coach Avery Johnson in Washington Crossing the Delaware is dope:
Let’s not forget about former Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin! Here’s the take on The Birth of Venus:
My personal favorite: Bert Bielema as Father Christmas! This came shortly after Arkansas beat Ole Miss in 2015 to help give Bama the SEC West title.
When David Bowie passed away in 2016, the brewery paid tribute with this:
Today you can come see our newest master piece by Rich Marks A mash up of two of our favorite ppl. pic.twitter.com/3BowbTmVPl— Druid City Brewing (@DruidCityBrew) March 9, 2016
And they put Saban in Outkast’s Stankonia album, which Hicks says was an idea thought up while he and SB Nation’s Spencer Hall were chatting over Twitter.
They recreated Van Halen’s 1984 album cover, with Kiffin’s face replacing the baby’s.
When Kiffin left, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was Druid City’s goodbye (he’s meeting an owl that looks like new school FAU’s mascot):
Les Miles as Michael Jackson? Les Miles as Michael Jackson! (The baby tiger stayed.)
Steve Spurrier’s sudden retirement earned a recreation of Nirvana’s Nevermind album, complete with golf ball.
The murals have even helped Marcks do more of his work elsewhere.
“Through doing this and getting the press and everything, he’s actually doubled down on doing his art and is doing art shows now and is happier,” Hicks said. “So it really makes me proud that something as silly as our chalkboards has kind of gilded him to do more art.”
Even better: these works of art are being used for charity.
“The Last Supper one that created such a problem, we actually ended up auctioning [it] off and raising $3,000 [for a charity] that does equestrian therapy for kids with autism and people with PTSD,” Hicks said. “This one of Thanos, we actually made it a panel and hung it over our chalkboard so that we can take it away, and I think that’s another way that we’ve really used the silliness for actually a force of good.
“Since they have been taking on a life of their own, it has become a hip college football stopping-off point — people that appreciate the silliness that we do. So yeah, I would say every week there’s at least three or four people that are like, ‘We just had to come in and see the new mural.’”