Oregon roots run deep for winning bid to paint 'Simpsons' mural

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A company owned by a former Duck football player turned actor recognizable for his role in a VW Super Bowl ad will paint a custom mural of "The Simpsons" on the wall of a local arts center.

The City of Springfield said this week that Old City Artists, owned by Erik Nicolaisen, was chosen to install the official Simpsons mural slated for the west side of the Emerald Arts Building in downtown Springfield.

The mural is based on artwork by Simpsons creator Matt Groening, who had a hand in picking OCA from the 8 applicants.

Like Groening, Nicolaisen's Oregon roots run deep. He graduated from Jesuit High School in Portland and attended the University Oregon, where he played linebacker for the Ducks.

He graduated with a degree in fine arts.

In addition to operating OCA, which has done work for Nike, Mazda, Disney, Madison Square Garden and other highly recognizable brands, Nicolaisen works as an actor.

His work includes a role in a 2013 Super Bowl ad for VW called "Get Happy" in which he plays an office worker with a sunny outlook on a dreary day at the office.

OCA also has offices in Studio City, Calif.

Groening got his start with the cartoon strip "Life in Hell" while living in Southern California. The cartoon landed in the hands of producers who tapped Groening to create "bumper" cartoon sketches for the Tracy Ullman Show - and the Simpsons were born.

The City of Springfield and 20th Century Fox are partnering to bring the Simpsons to downtown Springfield with a mural modeled after an original work of art created specifically for Springfield, Oregon, by Groening.

Work is expected to be complete by this fall.