No cure for ‘gold fever’ on this wall

       For a few years, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory wall along 25th Street has sported a mural with recognizable characters from the 1971 movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” The work was courtesy of Old Colorado City artist Jason Baalman - nationally known for artwork he's created using French fries and ketchup, cheetos and barbecue sauce - and whose parents (Ron and Mazie) own the Chocolate Factory.

This is the temporary appearance of the wall outside the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Artist Jason Baalman is just getting started on a new mural that will take up the whole wall (including new "windows") and a theme underlining the influence of gold in the development and growth of the original Colorado City.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Alert passersby will have noticed a recent change in the wall, including a giant “OCC” in gold colors and the deletion of all the Wonka characters except Gene Wilder's Willy - reinvented with the look of a “riverboat gambler” (Baalman's description). From the upper right corner of the wall long yellow strings flare out now like sun's rays. Near the Willy/gambler image are the words “Gold Fever,” “coming soon” and “It's Retro, everyone is catching it again!”
       In an interview this week, Baalman advised people not to get too attached to this new wall iteration, because it's not going to be there long. “I was just practicing,” he said, and the images and words are just teasers of what's to come.
       In fact, this weekend, starting late Saturday, he plans to rent a scissors lift to begin in earnest on a whole new mural, working from the top of the wall on down.
       For that purpose, the ever-inventive Baalman will be employing yet another new (to him) art style, creating multiple stencils to create images he wants, then filling them in with spray paint and sharpies.
       “It's grafitti-styled art,” he said. “The difference is I'm not having to do it fast to keep from getting caught.”
       If you like surprises, don't read any further, because what Baalman is doing is leading up to… Territory Days! By the time of the three- day weekend for Old Colorado City's biggest event of the year (May 28-30), he plans to have a wall depicting the highlights of local history with gold as the theme - from early times, when the Indians called Pikes Peak “Shining Mountain,” through the late 1800s, when the precious metal prompted the development and growth of an untamed Colorado City, with gold mills, trains, Old West bars and ladies of the night.
       Baalman's project was worked out in cooperation with, and is being partly funded by the Westside Pioneer, which plans to feature highlights from his mural on the cover of its annual Territory Days edition, coming out May 26.

Westside Pioneer article