Monthly Mural Wrap: A Dozen Tags for June, 2013

Muralists wait for no one. Despite another delay on CF 11-0923 -- the street name for the mural ordinance -- murals keep happening. It looks like the start of a busy summer. Here are a few things we like to tag in our Monthly Mural Wrap up.

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Sharon Foster Route 66 Museum I Photo: Ed Fuentes

Writing on the Wall checked in with the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville a few weeks ago. Their Route 66 mural was completed in time for the 2012 International Route 66 Festival, held in August. Then Sharon Foster, who wears many hats managing and marketing the museum, showed me something on the back wall of the building. It was the Route 66 badge made by stencil used to mark the highway. How did she get it done? She wasn't specific, but safe to say it was someone she knew who knows someone from the county, who knows someone with the state, and the word got out. One day a truck pulled up and threw up the stencil and left. "I will not say more," says Foster, who, if took on a street art name, would have the best street to use as an inspiration.

Added Foster: She wanted KCET to send out her challenge to all the cities along Historic Route 66: "Get a mural up on the Mother Road," she said. "The 90th Anniversary of Route 66 is in 2016."

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Fabian Debora
Homeboy Industries' Fabian Debora, currently featured at Artbound, submitted his 2008 painting "Look Within" to a mural contest sponsored by FX. Latino artists in Chicago, Houston, L.A., Miami, and New York were invited to send in works "depicting the mutual collaboration between Latino and American cultures," wrote L.A. Magazine. Debora's piece was selected from the Los Angeles pool of artists and will be unveiled at The Bridge Mural Contest on July 7, at 3912 Whittier Boulevard.

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Defer and Big Sleeps I Photo by Monica Torres

LA Taco links to Defer K2S and Big Sleep's recent 16 feet by 20 feet acrylic mural for Lucky Devil Screenprint in Brea, California.

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Sidewalk stencils in Venice I Photo by Rusty Blazenhoff

There's nothing but positive vibes in Venice, reports Laughing Squid blogger Rusty Blazenhoff. She came across a mysterious stencil series on Venice Boulevard, which she is calling "Positive Affirmation." Looking at it you have to like the fortune cookie optimism being embedded in the new age-friendly neighborhood, with its two-part textual stenciling process. Switching between black and white, used as background or to stencil the message, affirmation and stressed letters find balance. Breathe deeply. Breathe out. Good. Now, move on to the next entry.

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This Is The End commercial sign done in street art style on Melrose Avenue. Photo by Russell Hainline, via LAist.

A graffiti-style mural on Melrose Avenue is the latest example why the back-and-forth on allowing or banning art on single-family structures will be nothing more than a quaint argument someday. LAist wrote about a mural put up by "actor-writer-director-host-poet-metapersonality" James Franco, for his summer comedy "This Is The End." Is it an ad? Or is it fine art? Will traditional muralists consider it art because it's hand-painted? Or is it street art / mural that becomes an ad only when the viewer identifies it as such? What adds to the slippery slope is the film's rating, a condensed font to squeeze in credits, and the Columbia Picture's logo. Those elements make this a hand-painted film poster, aka key art. In other words, it's a commercial sign.

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 Ball-Nogues StudioThe new Tom Bradley International Terminal also means new public art, reports Architectural Record. "Three permanent works of public art, including a sculpture by architecture firm Ball-Nogues Studio, will be installed later this year and in 2014."

There's no rendering as I compile this listing, but Ball-Nogues Studio hints about on their Facebook page. With the photo, they wrote: "The future home of our air garden installation for the Bradley West International Terminal in Los Angeles."

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Einar Petersen mural in present condition

It's tattered, but it's on the radar of Larry Harnisch at L.A. Daily Mirror. A 1915 mural of a stagecoach scene by Einar Petersen used to be at the Rosslyn Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The artist, Larry tells us, was prolific, then forgotten:

The Mayflower Hotel (now the Hilton Checkers) at 535 South Grand Avenue commissioned him to paint murals of pilgrims, while the Spring Street Guaranty Building and Loan Association at 435 Spring Street hired him in 1928 to draw murals of Aladdin and his magic lamp for the lobby and conference rooms, which they promoted in Los Angeles Times ads announcing the grand opening. Clifton's Cafeterias paid him to paint a forest mural for Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria on Broadway (which still exists), and to design and build a garden of rest for their Pacific Seas Cafeteria. Petersen designed Spanish murals for Glendale's Guaranty Building in 1930.

In 1993's "Street Gallery: Guide to 1,000 Los Angeles Murals," Robin J. Duntz wrote the earliest Los Angeles murals were created in 1912 by Petersen. According to the California Landscape Paintings website, Einar Petersen came to America in 1912, and settled in Los Angeles in 1916. With the date of the mural above, one of several panels, as 1915 and knowing how dates get fuzzy when they are looked at decades later, maybe this piece on eBay is one of L.A.'s first murals.

Photo of Einar Petersen mural I USC Digital Archive

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Lee_.jpg"Happy Father's Day," wrote Shannon Lee after the statue of her father made its debut in Chinatown. "If you can believe it, this is the first Bruce Lee statue ever in the United States. It will live in Los Angeles' Chinatown." For now, without a proper plinth, the 7-foot and 6-inch bronze statue of Bruce Lee is a Chinatown pop-up sculpture of sorts. Unveiled during Chinatown's June "Summer Nights" series, the statue still needs funding -- leaders need to raise $150,000 -- to make it a permanent fixture. This year is the 40th anniversary of Lee's death, and the 75th anniversary of L.A.'s Chinatown, and there's another local tie -- other than being an actor, is Lee's own studio was at 628 West College Street during the 1960s.

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Armed with bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA, Arnoldo Vargas is now teaching art and photography at Banning High School, where he graduated in 1995, reports The Daily Breeze. His summer project is restoring a 1979 mural, "Chicano Heritage," originally painted by Javier Moreno and Mario Falcon, that he walked by almost daily as a child. Reporter Donna Littlejohn tells the story well.

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City of Richmond

Judith Baca's new 10' high by 60' long mural is a five-part history of Richmond, California. Content came from a series of community workshops that had locals contribute artifacts and oral histories. "It begins with the Native Americans, travels through the land grants, railroads, and shipyards, and ends with scenes from the present into the future," explains the press release. The mural was initially painted on canvas, then digitally photographed and printed onto a biodegradable vinyl material for outdoor environments, explains the press release.

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Top photo: Reading a newspaper in front of "No Greater Love" (1992) by Paul Botello. Caesar Chavez Ave at Soto I Photo by Ed Fuentes

About the Author

Ed Fuentes is an arts journalist, photographer, graphic designer, and digital muralist who covers a variety of topics and geographies in Southern California for KCET.
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