The powerful tribute was commissioned by hair stylist Roi Barnard, co-owner of Salon Roi, the shop that has been a fixture in the 2800 block of Connecticut Avenue for more than 40 years. Barnard was deeply affected by Monroe’s untimely death, and recruited his friend John Bailey to execute the piece.
The trompe-l’oeil opens up the 95-foot tower to an illusory Capitol dome several blocks north of the actual Federal landmark, sometimes startling visitors driving on Massachusetts Avenue. Below, an imaginary curved coliseum is purposely off in perspective from the dome.
The striking landmark in the neighborhood where the Duke grew up was originally on the side of Mood Indigo, a consignment shop adjacent to the U Street Metro. Artist Byron Peck based the uncharacteristically somber portrait on the frontispiece to Ellington’s 1973 autobiography, Music is My Mistress.
100′ x 8′; latex primer and acrylic on concrete retaining wall