Unfinished Jessica

In my neighbourhood, there is a house with images painted on one of the side walls. All of the images are derived from popular culture and all have been carefully drawn and painted. At the top is Mary Poppins flying away with her umbrella. At the bottom is Forrest Gump sitting on his bench. To the right is Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. Between Forrest Gump and Calvin is what appears to be an unfinished painting of Jessica Rabbit.

All of the images are so precisely drawn, I wondered why Jessica Rabbit is incomplete. So, of course, I started imagining scenarios in which this might happen.

My first thought was that the artist was a teenager whose parents were upset by the murals and who forbade him or her from doing any more.

Then it occurred to me that perhaps the muralist was a renter whose landlord evicted them when they saw what was happening to the outside of the house. They were kicked out so abruptly that there was no opportunity to finish the work.

These images have been here for at least a few years and have not been added to or removed or painted over. So someone must value them, at least a little bit. Perhaps they have become useful as signposts when giving directions.

Maybe they were painted by a family member who is now working far from home and they are waiting to come back again. He or she could be in the military, or working at a remote mining camp, or doing missionary work overseas.

Whatever the case, it bothers me that Jessica Rabbit is unfinished. I got the itch to finish the mural myself, but I don’t know how the residents of the house would feel about that. They may like it just the way it is, especially if they are waiting for the muralist to come home.

Of course, if I did finish the painting of Jessica Rabbit, I would not be able to stop there. I would want to fill in some of the blank spaces on the wall, or at least to put in one or two to balance out the design. Now I’m wondering what images from popular films to put in there.

Somebody should stop me.


Edit 21 March 2021:

We have an update! One of the spaces on the wall has been filled with an image of Notorious B.I.G. and I am very happy to see that the work continues.


  1. And now I’m wondering all these things too! Plus, I wonder if the artist knew their work would inspire so many questions and imaginings? I wonder if they know how brave they were to paint such things on a house? I wonder if maybe we should all paint pretty things too? I sure want too! I’d paint a coyote and a crow.

          1. No, it says that after the artist died, it was sent to the Athenaeum in Boston. You would think that if they had to call it something, they would have found an easier word to spell.

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