Through rich collaboration with clients, decent online research and a new confidence in color and self, my projects reflect sense of place and sense of self within that place equally. The latest project at Lawrence Station Center features family heirlooms, shared experience, and modernity. Because of this, the emotions evoked are nostalgia, curiosity and where’s my phone again?
Santa Clara is not San Jose’s little sister. When the two cities where founded, they were far away and separated by horse rides and farm land. Though the Mission of Santa Clara de Asis was founded in 1777, a year after the USA, San Jose built it’s own cathedral in California’s first civil settlement. St. Joseph’s Basilica was built to serve practicing Catholics outside of the Missions. Thus, the two were very separate and far away for a time.
Now, the one time Valley of Hearts’ Delight all grows together and we’re still adjusting to that. We, this generation and after, will never experience the Community Spirit to Farming. Everyone came together to pick fruit or else it rotted on the tree. Today, you can drive from one continuous city to another now. There are people who have been around to witness orchards being built over.
“Paving Paradise” holds real meaning to them. These looks into Santa Clara’s and more specifically Lawrence Station Road’s past really pull at the heart strings. Photos from the client made this difference. A concise statement from the client in terms of tone and imagery made this a powerful project. Though I am not Carmen, upon hearing that this is the label picked off the property itself, people are overwhelmed. Meaningful artwork will never go out of style.
The centerpiece of this colorful mural is a 1935 roadway traffic map, evaluating where to eventually build Highway 280. This would have different road names than today’s map. Mountain View Alviso Road became Highway 237. Alviso Road became Montague Expressway. Some things subtly changed after World War II. Stephens Creek Boulevard became Stevens. Wolffe became Wolfe. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that Lawrence Station Road became Lawrence Expressway. We left it how we found it.
With North pointed towards true North, it confuses folks who stay close to home or only go South on 280. People pause to find their house in the project, creating a sense of Community pride. This geometric patterned map added the pop flare and curious conversation to this project.
The project is also littered with interactive elements like the compass. A “you are here pin” with a heart in our map creates a photo opportunity that is too cute. The statement created here is that the person standing here loves Santa Clara.
Welcome to Santa Clara became a fan favorite so quickly. It answered a lot of questions about the other information showcased. Welcome is the overall statement. The people visiting this center are so proud to have something so cool so close to brag on Social Media. Done well, you don’t have to welcome somebody up to take a photo. People just get it.
Though an afterthought in the design process, bugs and birds help sell this Valley of Hearts’ Delight tribute with a little whimsy. Hummingbirds are a symbol of the Ohlone creation story, so we have one centered over an untouched Valley. We also have one perched with our Santa Clara Cornucopia because they are in our backyards every day. Monarchs, ladybugs and bees of all kinds also buzz through the piece. These pollinators are important for farmers and decreasing in population. It is a real struggle for the farmers left. Our Valley of Hearts’ Delight fruit array includes prunes, apricots, grapes of all kinds, peaches, tomatoes, onions, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, roses, mustard, acorns, oranges, lemons and blossoms.
This project has been a real blast. I’m always learning and developing new skills. Spraypaint has saved my project again. This lifesaver continues to help me look like a Rockstar.
Here are some more photos from throughout the project.