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Studio City artist commissioned for Simpsons mural

Lots of things are in Springfield (which is the most commonplace name of a city in the United States). But, most people know it as the home of "The Simpsons."

Erik Nicolaisen
Erik Nicolaisen website

They didn't say which Springfield it was of course, during the classic animated TV series, but the one in Oregon was named finally as the actual home of the cartoon family. The show's creator Matt Groening went to school at Evergreen State College, located near Olympia, Wash.

The city of Springfield will be commissioning a large mural of "The Simpsons" on the premiere Emerald Art Center in downtown.

The artist named to the commission is 35-year-old Erik Nicolaisen and his Old City Artists company based in Studio City, Calif.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," Erik says. "It's a really a cool opportunity to go back with a purpose."

The budget is smaller than what his art company normally does—painting murals on skyscrapers several stories high, and they are not permanent installments. This one will be.

It's a chance to go back home to the Northwest, too, for Erik who played football at the University of Oregon, where he described his playing as "less than illustrious" but he majored in Fine Arts and graduated in 2002.

Erik has offices in Studio City also Portland, and they won the job from among eight qualified applicants. Old City Artists was founded in 2011 and specializes in those large photorealistic murals, primarily advertisements for companies such as Sprint, Alaska Airlines, Mazda, Microsoft and Nike. (See the Slideshow for some of their work.)

The Simpsons mural is expected to be done by Sept. 10.

A sometime actor (movies such as "Body High" and "Four Questions" and a voice in videogames such as NBA and Infamous), the mural business was something he fell into thanks to best friend's dad who owned the business.

Erik also starred in many commercials, especially the one that cause all the controversy this past Super Bowl when he played a Jamaican-speaking office worker from Minnesota for a Volkswagen ad. Critics called the ad racist. The country took advantage of the publicity and Erik was given a tour of the island country.

"It was the craziest two weeks of my life," he says.

The design of the mural will have input from the Simpsons creator and is part of a $10,000 grant paid for by city hotel tax revenue. Erik expects it to take five days to complete the project.

“We've received eight fantastic proposals from great artists, but Old City Artists’ experience working with well-known brands, their skill at quickly reproducing recognizable imagery was unmatched, and their references were impeccable,” says the city spokeman Niel Laudati.

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