Wintersville resident, Jimmy Bee, is currently working on a mural in honor of the late “Tennis Shoes” Ernie Hollinger. The project is painted on the courtyard wall outside the Spot Bar on South Fourth Street. The bar owner, JoJodia Albert, grew up with Arnie, who was killed in a bicycle and car accident on Sunset Boulevard a few months ago. Bee, who lives in Wintersville and runs his own business, said he was happy to be a part of the project and is just a few strokes away from completing it.
Bee has been doing art all his life and began painting on bricks when he was 18 or 19 years old. He met Spike (Larry Sterling), who was in the body business, through building some Harley motorcycle tanks. Bee airbrushed some tanks and Sterling did the clear coat. However, Bee was not sure how Ernie’s friends found out about him. Bee believes a friend of his must have met Gerardo Lavasio and discussed the project with him. Lavasio then launched a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the mural and hired Bee to take over for the original muralist, Ruston Baker, who died of a heart attack.
Bee admits he was nervous at first, especially since he was not comfortable working in public. However, he soon got used to it and began outlining Ernie, airbrushing his outline to give it a “ghosted feel.” Bee said the courtyard outside the bar is a gathering place for a small group of men who regularly meet to solve the world’s ills and exchange opinions on all things from who the presidential candidate should be to who their running mate should be. He described them as being behind him and laughing when something doe not look good. Nonetheless, he is now in the final stages of the project.
Bee’s father was an artist himself and put him in classes at the Steubenville Art Society when he was young. As an adult, Bee admits to having done graffiti on some of the walls of his parents’ home, much to the dismay of his parents. Bee has built his own business in Ridge Bantams, Bee’s Auto Detailing, and does spraying on Marsino’s trucks.
The mural should be finished by the end of the week, but they want to show it off during the Dean Martin Festival. Bee did not know Ernie personally, but he is glad to be able to create something in his honor and be a part of the mural scene in town. People have been beeping and driving by, which Bee said is pretty cool.