Uh oh...

It appears that you're using a severely outdated version of Safari on Windows. Many features won't work correctly, and functionality can't be guaranteed. Please try viewing this website in Edge, Mozilla, Chrome, or another modern browser. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!

Read More about this safari issue.
Northwest Homegrown 0

Artist M. Clay Wilson Pays Homage to Iconic Fayetteville Businesses


As someone who covers the city on a daily basis and that has lived in and around Fayetteville for my entire life, it’s hard to deny that this place is growing and changing rapidly right before our eyes.

Folks can (and do) argue about whether that change is good, bad, or neutral, but it is natural, I think. People change. Businesses open, close and change hands. New buildings are built. New shapes are added to the ever-changing skyline. All of these things are what happens in a place that is desirable and perceived to be a vibrant and thriving community. That energy brings new people, and those people come in and move dirt around and make changes to things.

Something about the reality of all this is what is compelling about the artwork created by Fayetteville artist M. Clay Wilson.

Wilson, who draws, paints, sculpts, does graphic design, and works with food, has recently gotten into creating miniature models. Three of his recent works have captured some iconic Fayetteville businesses, creating a 3-dimensional snapshot of some beloved places as they are (or were) in spectacular detail.

Model of Dickson Street Bookshop by M. Clay Wilson

The first of these models created by Wilson was a recreation of the beloved Dickson Street Bookshop last year.

“I made edible miniature foods for a few years and decided I’d like to get back into that area again, but something more lasting that I could display,” he said. “I enjoy the older architecture throughout town and thought it would be great to have a miniature Dickson Street Bookshop to go on my bookshelf, and that’s what started it. And I decided to make more local places that I’m personally fond of.”

Wilson posted photos of his work on his Instagram account, catching the attention of hundreds, including the Dickson Street Bookshop itself, which commented on the level of detail in the model underneath Wilson’s photos.

“It’s soooo spot on! Great attention to detail. We are in love,” they wrote.

Earlier this year, Wilson re-created the now-closed Brenda’s Bigger Burger restaurant that operated for decades on what is now MLK Jr. Boulevard, complete with the burger mural on the side of the building and three red picnic tables out front that diners utilized for years.

In February, he created a model of the iconic Hugo’s restaurant in downtown Fayetteville that became the first of the models that he has sold so far. Hugo’s owner Jason Piazza got wind of the model, purchased it, and it is now on display on the wall at the restaurant.

Model of Hugo’s by M. Clay Wilson

“There was such a big interest when I posted the Hugo’s build, and I had several people interested in buying it, but when I learned one of them was the owner of Hugo’s, it just made sense it had to go to them,” he said. “I originally didn’t know they were going to display it in the restaurant, but I’m honored they chose to.”

It is the details of Wilson’s creations that make them so striking. His Hugo’s model, for example, includes the specials whiteboard outside the restaurant with their popular ‘Fish Tacos’ special scrawled on the board as it often is at the restaurant. You can see a tiny (probably Bleu Moon) hamburger on the table visible through the menu, and the stairs and railing into the basement are spot on.

Creating those details is part of what M. Clay Wilson enjoys.

“The tiny books in Dickson Street Bookshop windows were fun to make,” he said. “I also enjoyed recreating the Brenda’s Bigger Burger mural, it really makes that building. The Hugo’s signs were a pain to shape, but they turned out great.”

Continue reading at Fayetteville Flyer

Meet the

Learn more about .

A little about .

Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

Read more stories by Fayetteville Flyer - Dustin Bartholomew


Visit Fayetteville Flyer - Dustin Bartholomew’s Website

Like this story? Read more from Fayetteville Flyer - Dustin Bartholomew


Join the Conversation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Submit a photo

We select one featured photo per week, but we show many more in our gallery. Be sure to fill out all the fields in order to have yours selected.

  • Accepted file types: jpg, png, Max. file size: 5 MB.

Regions Topics

What are you looking for?

Explore Arkansas

Central Arkansas

Little Rock, Conway, Searcy, Benton, Heber Springs

Northwest Arkansas

Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale, Fort Smith

South Arkansas

Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, Arkadelphia

Explore by Topic