I had the pleasure recently of working on a story telling series all by myself. Let me tell you the story.
I got a call about a year after the Fairgrounds about a series of 15 murals about the Valley of Heart’s Delight. I originally thought this was the opportunity to coordinate 15 murals. It hadn’t ever crossed my mind that the client would be reaching out before ground was broken. I had almost a year to craft the perfect story. They also originally thought “vinyl murals” to address graffiti, but “This Stuff Works” sealant totally works. Murals in general do not get graffitied but in the Urban Core of downtown and with Parks and Rec projects, we’re all super clear about the sealant because it can be cleaned so easily. The family was sold and with enough time to sit inside the research and paint, I could weave a tapestry across the Berryessa shopping center.
The client, the Bumb Family, is notable historically and yet didn’t want murals that patted themselves on the back. Started by George Bumb Sr. over 15 years ago, the Flea Market in San Jose was the first of its kind. George Sr. saw value in much of what he was asked to dispose of in his waste business. The family has grown with the Flea Market and continues its management. The Bumb family have various other investments and businesses throughout the City of San Jose and a legacy of making it better. There were beautiful photos of the Flea Market’s growth over time. This could’ve been the story alone.
Like people who want to create for the better, equity, walkability and beauty comes into play. If you love San Jose, you know it doesn’t need another box store or beige office tower. History is a great way to address both culture and connectivity if you can make it engaging to look at. This is my specialty.
“Valley of Heart’s Delight” and a “vintage” look was the aim. We started with vintage postcards, black and white photographs and art nouveau ephemera. Once unified and modernized with color, these made a bold, beautiful statement together. With 15 large opportunities, there was no reason to splice concepts together. It’s all orchards, vineyards, rolling hills and oversized fruit.
I won’t bore you with 15 explanations of what you see. I will merely share with you the highlights.
The creek bridge designed last and painted first was inspired by this postcard taken 250 yards away from where it’s painted, just on the other side of Berryessa Road towards the Flea Market. The client’s agent thought I was magical when I presented for this mural and this as my preference. Merely coincidence. Creeks are a nuisance in San Jose today, creating privacy for people without housing, but they once were nature hubs and orchard irrigation. And I’m sure we’ll strive to make them recreational and educational again. That is a contrast to how we use creeks today, to jog or walk your dog through – hopefully not illegally dump and dwell. Artwork like this pacifies some of this urban element by simply making it a place you’d like to be.
The girl looked lonesome in the postcard, I added other people, mostly children, and wildlife using the natural setting recreationally. In addition, this building will be medical offices so it delights me to no end to show people doing healthy things outdoors and promoting that function.
This book really solidifies a brand for the Valley of Heart’s Delight. A detailed synopsis on cities, townships and attractions throughout the Valley accompany wonderful black and white photos. This artwork however is derived from the cover. Also added are native flowers and a better representation of what Berryessa’s agricultural makeup was, thus we have Berryessa, Fruit and Flowers. Left and Right are 300% zooms of their respective corners.
These were big giant opportunities with all the time and cooperation of construction crews a girl could ever want. I also had the client ask me to make the blossoms “more colorful” and I’m just pleased as punch to do that. This project allowed me the time to be precise and technical about each vignette.
This opportunity also gave me the opportunity to see Kris Sanchez again and attend the grand opening with Safeway! I also know my work is appreciated when I make into the client’s materials. The developers were so thrilled with the first 2 murals, they went into the brochure as a selling point – which in turn got me exposure to all of their potential tenants. Those are some amazing fringe benefits to doing something you love so much.
Market Park is officially open and you can see this beautiful setting for yourself across 6 buildings. I’m just going to show you the slideshow photos for good measure. There’s a lot to see at once!!