Salon Simply Beautiful owner Nikki Maybee and artist Zach Curtis stand outside the mural they created on Maybee’s business at 2665 Coolidge Highway.

Salon Simply Beautiful owner Nikki Maybee and artist Zach Curtis stand outside the mural they created on Maybee’s business at 2665 Coolidge Highway.

Photo by Deb Jacques


New mural transforms entire wall of Berkley salon into art

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 28, 2021

 Nikki Maybee has operated her salon for 12 years in Berkley. During that time, she always wanted to improve its bare concrete wall. She made plans last year to commission a mural on the building, but she had to wait until recently to make it happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nikki Maybee has operated her salon for 12 years in Berkley. During that time, she always wanted to improve its bare concrete wall. She made plans last year to commission a mural on the building, but she had to wait until recently to make it happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Advertisement

BERKLEY — Berkley’s collection of murals recently expanded with a brand-new one on the wall of a salon.

Salon Simply Beautiful at 2665 Coolidge Highway installed a new mural on the side of its building in April. The art covers the entire wall and features a woman amid cherry blossoms and cogwheels.

Owner Nikki Maybee had been wanting a mural on her salon for more than a year. One was commissioned in 2020, but it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maybee decided to bring back the idea of the mural this year and brought in Pontiac artist Zach Curtis to paint the piece.

“I’ve been in business here in Berkley for 12 years, and I’ve always hated the wall because it was just a plain cement wall,” she said. “It was invisible. It did absolutely no attraction to the salon … and to the community.”

Maybee said she had an idea of what she wanted the wall to look like, but she still wanted to collaborate with Curtis on the mural’s final look.

“I wanted to exemplify the hard work that our community puts in, and that is abstract when you see the cogs,” she said. “Those cogs are something that’s, in my opinion, working, turning, always evolving, and also kind of pay homage to the Motor City and the car industry in an abstract way. And I just really wanted the look of a beautiful woman because we are a hair salon, but I just really wanted someone that … exudes beauty.”

An artist for his entire life, and who has worked professionally for five years, Curtis specializes in nature, humans and animals.

While Maybee had ideas for the mural from the start, Curtis said she wanted him to put his own spin on it. That’s where the cherry blossoms entered the design.

“I know she wanted some flowers. That’s kind of right down my alley,” he said. “I like doing nature … myself and my family is from Japan and I like to, as much as I can, incorporate it in my art. That’s why I chose cherry blossoms, That’s why you see the cherry blossoms on the side of that building.”

The mural took five days for Curtis to finish. It’s one of more than 100 that he’s painted across the state of Michigan.

Curtis said he loved how the final product turned out.

“I’d probably say out of all of the walls that I’ve done that are heavily influenced by the client and their vision — not ones that are just my murals — I’d probably say that’s my favorite out of the ones that was influenced by the client. … I was really happy with it,” he said.

Maybee said the mix of masculine and feminine ideas was a highlight of the mural for her, as well as the cherry blossoms. She felt the nature setting and the cogwheels worked tougher in an abstract way.

“I’d like for people to look at it and give me their own opinion of what they see or what they take out of it,” she said. “It just differs for each person, but one thing everyone has in common when they look at the mural is that it’s just beautiful. It’s just something that makes you want to think and pause for a second, forget about what’s going on in the world and just have something beautiful to look at.”

Advertisement