This mural showed up recently on the northeast corner of 10th and University – a nice greeting as you come into town. It was called to my attention by a Quirky Berkeleyian with a great eye.
It evokes the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign.
It was erected by Western Neon in 1959. It is located in the median at 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South, north of the historic stone pillars of the old McCarran Airport. Las Vegas of 1959 interests me, the old weird Las Vegas, the Rat Pack and the mob. Las Vegas of today – not so much. Not at all, in fact. Except, in fact, probably the Neon Museum that I’ve never gone to.
I readily concede that Oakland and San Francisco both kick Berkeley’s butt when it comes to murals. We don’t even have one mural by Vogue and the TDK Crew. Life in Berkeley would be much better with at least one Vogue mural.
But that said, we have murals. We lose them, we get new ones. And we are better for it.
This next mural is at 2100 San Pablo Avenue, at the site of what was a U Haul office before U Haul got into it with the City of Berkeley ten years ago and was shut down.
The mural was made by two artist mentors (the Chilean-born Peskador and San Franciscan Eli Lippert) and five youth from Youth Spirit Artworks. This Berkeleyside article describes the defacement and restoration of the San Pablo mural in 2017.
Wow! This is at 1625 Shattuck.
The mural is by Nathan Richard Phelps. Of it he writes: “This piece is an experiment in limitation, only rectangles and a monochrome palette are used to create this wall.”
MacDonald’s is nearby, at the southeast corner of University and Shattuck. There is a wall mural that evokes the Phelps mural.
This doesn’t strike me as a photo that accurately depicts the way things usually are at MacDonalds.
On the northeast corner of University and Shattuck is this:
Nigel Sussman did this mural and a couple murals on construction fences on Telegraph over the last few years. The bonus here is the Snoopy’s sign peaking out from stripped-away exterior.
A similar “official” mural is on the northeast corner of Dwight and Telegraph.
Official or semi-official by – I like it.
One block north of this intersection is the fenced-in long-vacant lot where the Berkeley Inn once stood.
The lot may be undeveloped, but art cannot be stopped.
The real gem of this post is found on Alcatraz, the Youth Spirit Artworks at 1740 Alcatraz.
At this point, let me remind me that if you are a desktop or laptop and click on these photos they roar into full screen. It is worth doing it here.
What is going on here?
Sally Hindman is the Executive Director at Youth Spirit Artwork. She has given her work life to helping the homeless, the least of these our brethren. She co-founded Street Spirit, the San Francisco/East Bay street-distributed publication that focuses on issues of homelessness.
She told us that there will eventually be 20 murals here, along Alcatraz, back south on an alley, and on the walls of the courtyard at the end of the alley. It will be known as the Alcatraz Alley Mural Park. When we visited, eight of the 20 murals were done. They rock a very quirky mural vibe and hold up to the best of Oakland.
I’ve heard a couple ideas for Berkeley murals that thrill me. I hope that those with the ideas will trust their crazy ideas and have the murals made.
My friend took his time with the draft of this post. He clicked to make every photograph full screen. “I really dig this dude Angel Jesus Perez at Youth Spirit. He has got it going on. He’s tapped in to the Chicano mural movement of the 60s. Makes me wistful.”
My friend pulled out a sketch he’s been working on. He explained: “A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering angel so nothing can harm you.” The sketch reminded me of the art that you see on calendars for sale in Mexican bakeries. He says he wants to pitch the idea to Vogue. Stranger things have happened, to be sure.
What about the post?