I painted only a black and white face of Strother at first. Word got around and he drove over to see it. Then he called me and we became friends. As I was painting the afghan he agreed to pose for me and I added the figure on the left.
Your murals are part of my daily visual experience en route from Glendale to Culver City and back again. I am saddened to see the destruction of the LA Marathon mural on the 5 fwy. Why would the graffiti-ists choose to destroy the artwork with the wall is blank on either side of your murals from many, many yards? This infuriates me. On the other hand, I still get to enjoy the beauty and grandeur of your LA Orchestra mural while I sit on the 110 fwy home. I feel like I know them, it still is very much appreciated and recognizable. It is our public loss that LA has outlawed murals. There will be a soon be a young generation who will not understand what a mural is…was.
I am glad to see you on Open Museum.
Thank you Eleana. I have plans to paint giant people not necessarily outdoors but may also now have a way to protect future exterior giants. I’ve talked with Ed Moses, Laddie Dill and Lynn (for Ed) Kienholz and also want to paint Robert Irwin but haven’t talked with him yet. At the moment I’m close to repainting “The Freeway Lady”, from the 1974 Hollywood Freeway, onto a building at LA Valley College. We met at a 40’ wall there yesterday that is better than the original. She will face Fulton Ave on the west side of campus. Everyone seems excited including architect Steven Ehrlich who is doing some of his great work there.
Ah Kent, The seventies were mural time in L.A. I remember all those wonderful murals decorating the city. Yours & Terry Schoonhoven & the L.A. fine arts squad. Ah the " The Isle of California " The Climax club murals, your "Lady of the Freeway ", The SM freeway murals , Ruscha, downtown all the way to the 84 Olympics murals. Then it was over. All either graffitied to dearth or just plain painted over. Then there was the futile attempt to preserve them. At that point I guess you realized that you were living in L.A. not Florence , Italy. Land of temporary illusions forever changing.
The spray paint vandalism was at the core of the end of the mural movement. LA started the murals in the late 60s with those of us who thought of ourselves as hippies and it traveled around the world, helped by the media attention unusual things in LA get. Ironically LA has now become the one place where murals cannot survive. Most of the murals that were painted over were done so because they were covered with graffiti. Efforts to clean the tagging eventually compromised the paint surface and the perception was that the paint was not lasting. Today perception is more powerful/influential than truth and people began thinking of murals as ugly graffiti-laden walls that would have been better left unpainted. Spray paint vandalism and the murals have now been tainted with the same understandable discrimination and the days of the late 60s through the mid 80s are a memory for those of us who were there. The “Mural Capital of the World” has become the" Graffiti Capital of the World" and LA has officially outlawed murals along with building-sized commercial ads. That doesn’t stop the taggers of course. It’s a strange new world. You are absolutely right though. We thought that we were in Florence. That’s why we put so much into our paintings. We thought the world was good and that people just all wanted to be nice.
Strother Martin Monument 1971
Kingsley Drive at Fountain Avenue in Hollywood
Painted in 1971 with additional elements added during 1972.