Yuri Fatkulin

When we broke the set of the Rodricks For Breakfast show in late 1999, after five years of weekend morning television and some of the hardest work and greatest fun we ever had, crew members suggested I take home the mural painted by the Russian artist Yuri Fatkulin. This talented muralist had painted cityscapes and fabulous faces on walls all over Baltimore, particularly the interiors and exteriors of restaurants. If you’ve been to Little Italy or Canton, you’ve probably seen his work. Our executive producer, Jon Stiehm, had seen some of it and had read a Sun feature story about Yuri by my colleague Carl Schoettler, and so we hired the artist, then in his early 40s, to paint a mural on a wall in Studio A at WMAR-TV. He did so on live television, each Sunday over a few weeks, as a work in progress, and it made for some good TV. What you see is not the all of it, but the section with the show’s title that my son Nick and I extracted from the attic of my garage during a Saturday morning cleanout. The balance of the mural was much larger and depicted Baltimore rowhouses and office buildings in the distance, as if you were looking west from Canton or Highlandtown. Yuri’s murals were complex and rich, in a style Carl Schoettler called cosmic realism. Yuri was only in his mid-50s when he died of cancer in 2012. His obituary offers more on his background. Apparently, a tribute book of his work was published and is still available online. RIP, Yuri Fakulin.

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