LAURINBURG — Drivers waiting for the light to change at U.S. 401 near Champs Fine Foods and Spirits may find themselves geared up for football even if it’s nowhere near Friday night.
Last week, the restaurant and sports bar rekindled a longstanding tradition of Fighting Scots-themed murals when local artist Stuart Carmichael painted Pate Stadium on a fence alongside the building.
“If it’s paintable, no matter how big or small or where, I usually do it,” said Carmichael who has been painting professionally for 16 years. “Anything kind of weird or large, they usually point towards my direction.”
In addition to Champs’ new mural, Carmichael is responsible for the “S” which in addition to designating the home stands at Pate Stadium greets incoming traffic cresting the nearby overpass, and for adding “Scots” to the roof of Scotland High School’s fieldhouse.
He has also decorated the press box at Marlboro County High School, and is on call as the official artist of Rockingham Dragway.
Carmichael’s talent stems from his days scribbling on the walls of his childhood home, though he only turned to it as a profession after a decade as a department store shoe salesman, where he “heard every corn and bunion story in town.”
“My mom said she had the cleanest walls in town because she was always cleaning up behind me,” he said.
The Pate Stadium mural took a day and a half to complete, partly due to raised wood on the fence, but Carmichael is used to the heat from days working in the country as a teenager.
He works by instinct, crediting what he feels is a God-given gift. Though he paints his share of sports-related images, his passion is adorning the faith community.
“I’m a visualist — you give me what you want and I can draw pretty much what you’re thinking,” he said. “Church murals and baptismals, I love doing — anything related to church and God that helps people mentally and in their hearts as well, that’s what touches me the most.”
The mural also promotes the time of the Coach Richard Bailey Show, which during football season is broadcast live from Champs on WLNC on Mondays at 7 p.m.
The section of fence facing the highway also carries the Scotland High football schedule, with room to add playoff matches if needed.
Our real goal is to support the Scotland High football team and Scotland High in general,” said Champs owner Ron Riggins. “They’ve had great success and we want to try to push them on to more success and get more people behind them.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.