Two Girls With Glasses: Haley Himiko Hudson Morris and Juan Vergara on the Art of Transforming Spaces

Muralist, maker and musician Haley Himiko Hudson Morris and graphic designer-turned-restaurateur mastermind Juan Vergara of Barroco Grill talk about transforming spaces through art and DIY style.

Haley Himiko Hudson Morris’ work can be seen throughout Cleveland. She could most recently be found hosting Twin Peaks nights at Mahalls. For the full experience, she created Peaks-inspired artwork and painted the venue’s floor in homage to the show’s iconic use of chevron. It’s not her first foray into art at the Lakewood bowling alley. Patrons might remember the detailed Tears for Fears mural that once graced the walls.

Appropriately, she’s also one of the hosts of New Wave Rave dance parties. That’s when she’s not fronting her band Pleasure Leftists, who've received national accolades and, most importantly, serve as the intro/outro music for the Two Girls podcast. If you’re not already familiar with Morris' work, you might recognize her button-making project, Memorabilia (, and as the artist behind the murals at Ohio City’s Nano Brew and the party room at Market Garden Brewery.

Juan Vergara is the graphic designer-turned-restaurateur mastermind behind Barroco Grill (12906 Madison Ave., 216-221-8127,, the Lakewood destination known as much for its authentic Colombian fare as it is for its decorative wall art created by Vergara himself. It’s been so successful that the restaurant expanded to include a quick-serve outpost in the Warehouse District (1303 W. 6th St., (216) 589-0300,

Chatting with us at the finish line of extensive renovations, Vergara recounts how the building evolved from a shuttered pizza shop to what it is today by the work of his own team’s hands. During his recent interview in Scene’s Flavor issue, Vergara told us his plans were crafted to intentionally overwhelm the senses. He hasn’t just stopped at art – Barroco has begun regularly bringing in character actors and live Latin bands to add magic to the dining experience.

Hudson and Vegera also speak on the transformative art of the everyday: from street art in the Flats to graffiti on passing trains. Our only hope after their first-time meeting: a Hudson-Vergara collaboration in the near future.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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