And its new owner says he hopes the venture will breathe new life into the area.
Renowned graphic artist and illustrator Dan Leo has painted a striking image of a dragon sweeping across the main wall of the Washington Street building, which reopened under new management last night as a music, entertainment and café venue.
“It was a great pleasure and honour to be given the opportunity to paint the wall, as it had been painted by FinDac previously. Hopefully, people will warm to it,” Dan said.
The Kino’s new owner Philip O’Connor said he took a lot of flack following his decision to paint over the building’s original mural — one of the city’s most iconic pieces of street art.
Created in 2014 by internationally-renowned Cork-born urban artist FinDac, the old mural was one of a series by the artist featuring a Nice-based model, Marlena, whose eyes are masked by a brightly coloured band.
Titled Jackie Oh!, the Kino mural model had worn a T-shirt of the Cork-based band The Frank and Walters and bore a tattoo on her left arm of Gregory Peck and Moby Dick, a nod to the movie filmed in Youghal.
It was an instant hit and transformed the visual streetscape in one of the city’s busiest entertainment hubs.
Mr O’Connor said it wasn’t an easy decision to erase it but said he was confident that its replacement would make its mark.
FinDac last month told the Irish Examiner the erasing of such works is part of the business and he expressed the hope any new mural would be interesting, well received and respected.
Mr O’Connor had a Cork-based street artist lined up to create a 1960s retro-style mural, but the plan fell through at the last minute.
He then contacted the Waterford Walls street artist collective, whose founding manager Edel Tobin suggested he ask Kilkenny multi-disciplinary artist, Dan Leo, to take on the project.
“I felt his bold graphic style would suit the project perfectly,” she said.
Stylistically influenced by the cartoons of the late 80s and mid-90s, Dan Leo’s work often depicts nature and animals in a style that features heavy line work, pattern elements and bold colours.
Mr O’Connor said following talks, they agreed on the dragon design — a nod to the city’s Dragon of Shandon festival. The mural was completed in just three days this week.
“We couldn’t recommend Dan Leo highly enough. He was great to work with, we’re delighted with the new mural and we’re getting some great feedback,” Mr O’Connor said.
The Kino, which has had an entire interior revamp, opened with a jazz gig by Sarah-Beth and Band last night; it will host a 1920s fancy dress party tonight, with Stevie G performing a live gig on Halloween night, Tuesday.
The café side of the business is due to open within a week.
Mr O’Connor, who also runs Doppio cafe on College Road, said the new venture has created up to 15 full-time and part-time jobs.