Walking into Ryan and Tony’s Barber Shop on Woodville Road in Millbury, customers catch an eyeful of school mascots on steroids.
Each mascot is about 10 to 20 square feet, and Lake’s is the biggest. The collection covers the entire east wall. Co-owner Ryan Bowen, once a Lake basketball star, stands in front of the mural and he is dwarfed by the images.
If you are sitting in a barber’s chair, you spend the entire time looking at them. The trash talk begins almost immediately.
“I love it. It brings color to, and don’t kill me for saying this, an otherwise drab community, to be honest with you,” said Kyle Borko, a 1985 Genoa High School graduate and customer.
| Co-owner Ryan Bowen is dwarfed by images of seven school mascots on the east wall of Ryan &
Tony's Barber Shop in Millbury. Artist Deano Davis took logo images from seven schools, clock-
wise from the top: Lake, Northwood, Clay Oak Harbor, Genoa, cardinal Stritch, and Woodmore,
and used his creative talends to expand on them. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)
Co-owner Tony Meadows, a 1998 Lake graduate, said mean looking mascots was the plan, just like when the Toledo Mud Hens made Muddy appear meaner.
“I said, I think we want to make them a little bit tougher. We wanted to give that little edge to them,” Meadows said.
Artist Deano Davis took logo images from seven schools — Woodmore, Cardinal Stritch Catholic, Genoa, Oak Harbor, Clay, Northwood, and Lake — and used his creative talents to expand on them.
“He put his artist’s rendition on each one of them,” said Bowen. “He didn’t want them to be exactly like them, he wanted to do his own little take and they came out pretty neat. We love it. We’ve actually had a lot of people stop in here to look at it just by word of mouth. We couldn’t be happier. He did a fantastic job with it. It’s cool.
“It’s kind of funny. Every time somebody different comes in, they like a different mascot,” Bowen continues. “Everybody has their own thing. When the Genoa people come in, they like their Comet. Obviously, the Lake people like their ‘Lake.’ The Lake Flyers emblem is all over the place — there are pilots, airplanes — that one came out neat. The Lake Flyers’ pilot has the big eyeballs up there. I like Northwood’s, too, because Northwood’s literally is a blue and yellow ‘N’. It’s neat, man.”
The airbrushed images took Davis, a CSX employee, about 20 hours. Bowen had to let him in at 5:30 a.m. the morning he finished the project.
Davis, a 1996 Clay graduate who grew up in Harbor View, relished the opportunity.
“I was fortunate to have an opportunity to give something back to the community,” Davis said. “It was fun that they were able to just let me create the logos. It’s hard for me to find an opportunity to just be creative and not be under so many rules, but it was definitely a project that I enjoyed.”
Customer Aaron Endicott, who stops in the barber shop for coffee nearly every morning, said that before Davis completed his creation, there was panic, especially from Lake fans. You see, Bowen is the Lake boys’ varsity basketball coach and Endicott is one of his assistants.
“As that was being done, we would come in and say, ‘What is this and what is that?’” Endicott said, pointing to the images. “And then when he started putting it all together, it became an unbelievable conversation piece. Everyone who sits in the chair, before they get out of the chair, they’ve got to comment about it. So, it’s been all positive. We love it.
“What happened is he got half of those done, and didn’t get the rest of them finished, and Lake wasn’t up there,” Endicott continued. “Boy, people would come in and say, ‘Where the heck is Lake at?’ When he put Ryan and Tony’s name in the middle — that was a great touch.”
Trash talk gets thicker
The barber shop has been there since 1967, started by Bowen’s uncle. Ryan took it over 19 years ago. Meadows, Ryan’s employee for eight years, became a partner this year.
Ryan said the artwork is more than just a marketing piece.
“We have a lot of customers who are young kids,” Bowen said. “We wanted to honor them all by putting their high school mascot on there Obviously, all of the schools that are on there, all of our business is from that (area), so we thought it would be neat for all the kids.
Meadows added, “From what I’ve seen, everyone has been extremely interested in it. I think it’s kind of caused a little buzz with some of the younger kids who come in. I think they really enjoy seeing their school logos up there and everything. There’s been a little bit of (school loyalty).”
Davis, who has been a tattoo artist for 17 years, likes to dive into other art forms, too, like glass blowing. Other mural clients include Jed’s Barbecue and Brew restaurants, plus CSX also allows him to occasionally perform commercial artwork.
“It’s always been a passion. I railroad, that’s my real job, but I’ve always done artwork. On the mural side, it really takes a lot of self-discipline and it takes a tremendous amount of desire to work with people,” Davis said.
This was not Davis’ first gig at Ryan and Tony’s — he also did the adjacent mural containing images of Michael Jordan and Lebron James. Only that image is on two removable pieces of oak — the school logos are permanently air-brushed on the wall.
First, the wall was prepared with a skin coat by Genoa residents Brandon and Dan Kincaid. Davis then applied a special high-quality paint shipped in from Louisiana. Then Davis went to work.
“He gets up there with pencil, doesn’t look and starts drawing, and then when he air-brushes it that’s when he starts putting it to life,” Bowen said, adding that he paid Davis in cash, not haircuts.
Davis explained, “I just came through there and gave it a quick guidance of what I wanted to put on there, and then I just cut loose with it.”
As new customers walk in, the trash talk gets even thicker. Borko, a former Comet and once a precision machining technology teacher at Start High School, has changed allegiance slightly because his children.
“I’d rather it was in Lake Township than anywhere near Genoa. I love it,” Borko, the owner of K & T Machine Shop in Curtice, said. “It’s the first time I’ve been in here since it has been up and I really like it. I don’t know if it competes with the Jordan-James thing, but I really like it. It’s really cool.
“Being a parent of Lake Flyer kids for the past 10 years, my last one is a senior this year, I’ve been to a lot of sporting events, so I will basically say, ‘No comment.’ It’s not about being a bad loser, but how gracious a winner you are, and that’s all I got to say. I still have a little bit of allegiance toward the Genoa Comets.”