Back in high school when now-prolific Pittsburgh artist Jeremy M. Raymer didn’t take art very seriously, there was one character who always showed up in his art class projects.
“All my art projects, one way or another, I’d work Homer Simpson into it,” Raymer said. “My art teacher jokingly banned me from using Homer in any of my art projects.”
Now, Homer is the larger-than-life subject in Raymer’s latest mural, located in Lawrenceville. In the piece, Homer reaches across a two-story house for his favorite food: A pastel pink box of donuts.
The design was inspired by two unlikely materials: A shipping container and abandoned tires.
“I had been seeing these tires around town, and they kind of look like shit sitting here,” he said. “They already look like a donut, and [it’s] a way to make a piece of trash into a piece of art and make it at least aesthetically pleasing.”
He started painting the tires into “Raymer donuts.”
Then the idea struck to make a shipping container he had into a donut box, using his practice from painting the tires and incorporating his love for The Simpsons.
“I looked for some images of Homer reaching, and I found one of him reaching for a can of Duff Beer, so I modified it,” Raymer said.
Painting took 25 hours to complete. It’s all finished now, except for adding a few sprinkles on the donuts and maybe painting a donut on the sidewalk, which would indicate to people where exactly to stand to best experience the 3D depth of the shipping container element.
“It really blends it. It literally looks like a box of donuts,” Raymer said.
While pastel cartoon murals aren’t Raymer’s standard form, he said he likes bringing variety into his work and tying in pop culture. His other Simpsons piece, the cat lady, lives in the same neighborhood as Homer, just like in Springfield.
Homer’s wall has a strong significance for the Uptown artist who has painted 50 walls throughout Pittsburgh. Raymer used to live in the house, which is now a rental property, and the wall became one of his first canvases back in 2013.
“It was kind of my first practice area where I scaled up to 6-foot by 8-foot murals,” he said.
He’s since been saving the wall for a while, hoping to do “one really big piece on it.”
If you’re headed there to take some photos, the exact location is at 183 35th Street near the intersection with Charlotte Street.
“If you’re driving up 35th Street, you can’t really miss a shipping container box of donuts and a 25-foot tall Homer Simpson,” he said.
It’s also in the area with the highest concentration of Raymer murals, so if you’re there, make it into an art walk, and don’t miss Magneto just a short walk away.
The artist is currently working on a yellow jacket piece in Freeport and wrapping up a season of more than 10 murals, including the Deutschtown Sasquatch.
So what’s next?
Indoor work for the winter, along with some fashion pieces, a little time off and maybe engineering some kind of “ensemble that’s like a heating blanket” to keep up the outdoor work. He did work as an electrical engineer, after all, before picking up art.
“Pittsburgh’s kind of my playground. I’ve been fortunate over the years, I’ve been able to make connections and get a lot of wall space all over the city,” Raymer said.
He’s also excited to tell his high school art teacher, with whom he’s still friends, about this new piece.
“I reintroduced Homer back into my work on the largest scale possible I could do,” Raymer said. “She hasn’t seen this one yet. I’m gonna have to have send her a note.”