Customers walking into Park Pharmacy are being greeted by a panoramic digital view of Severna Park and nearby neighborhoods above the rows of pills and medical supplies.
Park Pharmacy owner Neil McGarvey called upon the talents of graphic design artist Joe Barsin, and his wife, Eva, to create a decor rebrand perfect for a local business. McGarvey had worked with the Barsin team on the rebrand of his Arnold and Annapolis pharmacies but didn’t have a clear vision of what he wanted for the Severna Park store, which he took ownership of last year.
“At this point, I trust Joe and Eva implicitly, so I simply asked, ‘What do you think?’” McGarvey said. “What he came up with was really quite ingenious.”
Working with a 640-by-172-by-24-inch space, Joe Barsin felt it represented Severna Park, a long and narrow piece of land caught between two rivers, which would be represented on either long wall. The store’s south wall would be the Severn River, the store’s north wall would be the Magothy, and the far short wall would be anchored by central Severna Park.
“Severna Park is unique in that it’s a peninsula between two rivers,” Joe said. “I couldn’t recall ever seeing one piece of artwork that captured points of both rivers, each of which are important to understanding Severna Park.”
Joe researched and studied maps of Severna Park and surrounding neighborhoods and compiled a list of Maryland symbolism he wanted to work into the uniquely shaped mural. He started by creating pencil sketches of elements to be included, and when they were drawn to scale, he used maps to determine the placement of beaches, structures, landmarks and other points of interest.
Once he had the components and sketches exactly how he wanted them, Joe went to his computer to digitally create a mural.
“Having all of the elements drawn to scale before starting the composition was critical because if I went right to the computer, it would be very easy to get lost in the space,” said the graphic design artist in reference to working on a 1,455-inch mural on a 24-inch computer monitor. “The very different perspectives would have presented challenges if I hadn’t first filled the space with sketches.”
Along the Severn River, Joe added Round Bay, Sullivan Cove and Yantz Creek markers, as well as others, and added images of sailboats, black-eyed Susans, Adirondack chairs and even a characterization of the pharmacy’s prior owner, Steve Wells, relaxing on the beach. Against the furthermost wall, Joe added the old Dawson’s Store and train station stop. The Magothy River wall incorporates, among others, Old Man Creek and Cattail Creek, and it includes imagery of boats, a retriever, osprey and stand-up paddleboarders. A crabbing boat named Gannett is a reference to McGarvey’s own craft.
A smaller map was made to show the entire area and was hung just inside the door at the register. Andrew Muñoz, pharmacy manager at Park Pharmacy, said customers enjoy pointing out on the map where they live and striking up conversations with others.
Joe used an Odenton-based company to print the mural on high-quality vinyl and installation was completed in just a few days.
The Barsins are owners of the Arnold-based JEB Designs. They created the logo for Park Hardware and were the design team behind the blue Chesapeake Bay license plate.
“What an honor it has been for Eva and I to work with Neal McGarvey again. He loves our community, and he has shown it throughout the years,” Joe Barsin said. “He always works with locals, including us.”