Dirk Rozich’s murals don’t just grab your attention—they leap out from their enormous spaces.
The North Canton-based artist is one of the area’s most prolific muralists. One of his most notable projects is a commemoration of Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath’s brash guarantee that the underdog New York Jets would win Super Bowl III—which they did in 1969.
The moment was captured recently by Rozich as part of the “The Eleven,” a downtown public-arts project celebrating the NFL.
Commissioned by ArtsinStark, the mural can be seen on the exterior of the Canton Museum of Art at 1001 Market Avenue N.
An alumnus of West Branch High School, Rozich is a 2003 graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design. He has been a professional muralist, designer and illustrator for 18 years.
“I actually began freelancing my freshman year while in art school, when I was hired by a promotion company as a graphic/web designer in 2005,” he said. “I went out on my own full time as a graphic designer/illustrator under the business name of D’sign Elixir in early 2015.”
Following school, Rozich moved to Chicago, where he quickly found work. But the constant pressure of deadlines, coupled with a dissatisfaction that his work wasn’t being fully appreciated, drove him to seek a different, larger venue for his work.
I was desperate to find a larger stage for my work—a space where my paintings could be viewed on a grander scale for longer periods of times … years, not seconds,” he said. “So, I shifted gears and focused on larger projects.”
He was hired by Lynne Biery of the Sebring Mansion Inn & Spa in Sebring to install multiple murals.
“The Mansion was not quite ready for my murals, so I met with other potential clients, soon landing my vault mural in Alan Rodriquez’s Julz jewelry store and the Schreckengost Park mural in Sebring,” Rozich said. “I moved directly from the park mural into Lynne’s stunning mansion within weeks of each other.”
Asked to name a favorite mural, Rozich said he gets attached to every project. To complete the Namath mural, he used 18 gallons of acrylic paint, six gallons of primer, seven gallons of clear coat and 29 brushes to cover a space containing 4,000 bricks.
“I had about 1,000 hours in the Schreckengost Park mural alone,” he recalled. “The hours amount quickly in the researching, conceptualizing, sketching, projecting and painting with each project. To this point, I have to admit, my Super Bowl III mural was the most enjoyable. Although there were a few obstacles to overcome in the early stages of this mural, I was absolutely delighted to work on this mural each and every day. For Ohio, the late spring and summer weather was very forgiving. I only missed six days due to inclement weather, which allowed me to complete this 1,400-square-foot mural in record time, exactly two months!”
Rozich describes himself as a “die-hard” Ohio State University football fan, who also roots for the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs. The 2016 World Series, he noted, was “a dream come true.”
In August, Namath attended the unveiling of Rozich’s mural, which proceeded despite a torrential storm.
“Although history demanded his presence in my design, I painted this mural for Mr. Namath,” Rozich said. “He was the first super star in NFL history and changed the sport forever. His words of gratitude made that evening the most defining moment of my career to this point.”
By Charita Goshay