Tag Archives: paint


Or fairies if you prefer… but nymphs is far more fun to say.  Try it.


See what I mean?

Here’s the finished product…  I think they did this all in one day.  Pretty cool, eh?



I talked to Mark Bode for a few minutes while he worked. He hopes to produce more murals in the neighborhood by coordinating with local property owners, including the big recycling plant on Peralta (Custom Alloy). I’m hoping to do a more in depth interview with him in the future.

Until then, thank you Bode!


So yesterday I mentioned the lovely mural that seemingly popped up overnight near Hollis & Peralta… The sign read “Peralta Mural project coming soon…”

This got me to thinking.
About how art can transform, not only the passerby’s immediate experience in the world, but on a larger level, the whole look & feel of a neighborhood.

A couple months ago I shot some images for an article in Oakland Magazine about a puzzlemaker whose workshop/home is located in the Jingletown district of Oakland. This area is known for its profusion of artists and art spaces, re-purposing many of the industrial buildings that are no longer used for manufacturing and heavy industry.

I got a little lost and found myself wandering around a neighborhood in which nearly every large building’s walls had been beautified by some incredible piece of mosaic art… large murals constructed of tiny bits of glass and ceramics, installed by artists and community members working through Oakland’s Institute of Mosaic Arts (IMA). I’ll focus on the Institute and many of the pieces it’s installed in future posts.

But there is no denying that these works of art transformed this neighborhood, from streets confined by monolithic blank walls that seem to make us feel small, to streets framed by large works of art filled with color and sparkle, that not only invite the viewer’s attention, but dazzle with their beautiful spectacle.

And in seeing the notice on Hollis Street about the coming mural project, it seemed at least one artist had a similar vision for one little corner of West Oakland.  That artist is Mark Bode.  He’s a tattoo artist, comic book artist, muralist, and more.  And the other day I caught him in the act, adding the next installment to the Peralta Street Mural project.





Check back tomorrow to see the finished product!

Mural Project coming soon…

So this is where it all started…


My Oaktown Art blog that is. It really began with this mural, and a small inscription that read “Peralta Street Mural Project coming soon… Please Respect.”

I had driven or biked past this stretch of Hollis Street hundreds, if not thousands, of times over the last decade or so… it’s on the way to Home Depot, the Post Office, my bank, my work, Trader Joes, and more. It’s practically a daily occurrence. And one day… a few weeks ago, this gorgeous girl caught my eye. She had materialized literally overnight.

Check back tomorrow when I’ll fill you in on more of the story, including my meeting with the artist…

Oceanus ~ 1977

This one speaks for itself… simply gorgeous!  Located on Claremont Avenue under the 24 Freeway.







I love the fact that this is a representation of our immediate surroundings… see the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown San Francisco, and Mt. Tamalpais in the background. But most of the mural depicts that which we cannot see. I wonder if the bay really looked this alive in 1977… I wonder how it looks now…

“Beautiful Struggle” ~ Oakland High School

So this morning’s excursion proved to be a perfect little life lesson in patience, flexibility, and serendipity. I was on my way to a particular mural that I knew I wanted to post today. I had it all planned out (I like to plan). It fit perfectly into my mural themed week and is one of my favorites in Oakland for it’s unique simplicity, and just happened to be on my way to my girlfriend’s’ house where I was headed anyway to pick up cake pans for a birthday cake to be baked this weekend.

However, my plan was completely thwarted by unanticipated road construction directly in front of the mural… police officers directing traffic, orange cones and plastic fencing cordoning off lanes, a giant yellow construction thingie (backhoe? bulldozer?) in the middle of the road, and basically no way to get the shot I had wanted.

I was frustrated. I ended up getting lost on my way to my friend’s house, despite having been there hundreds of times over the years… I was driving in circles not knowing how to get where I wanted to go… even more frustrating. As I felt my agitation rising I realized I needed to talk myself down.

“Breathe… It’s going to be ok. There’s plenty of art around… no need to be set on the one you had pre-picked… breathe.” And just like that, I turned a corner and saw the old familiar line of tall slender palm trees running down 9th Avenue and knew exactly where I was.

I picked up my cake pans and then drove right past this gorgeous set of murals produced by the students at Oakland High School. It’s really like a dozen murals all rolled into one, but I’ll feature the centerpiece today (Beautiful Struggle), and we’ll get to the others in future posts.

Beautiful Struggle 1

Beautiful Struggle 2

Beautiful Struggle 3

Beautiful Struggle 4

The mural was produced by the Visual Arts Academy Magnet Program (VAAMP) at Oakland High, and focuses on inspirational minority leaders, as only 2% of students at the school are white. (Wikipedia, see Oakland High School). The phrase “beautiful struggle” comes from a Martin Luther King Jr. speech entitled “Beyond Vietnam”…

“We must move past indecision to action. Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response.”

The center figure of the mural is Ms. Broussard, “one of the greatest art teacher(s) [to] set foot in OHS.” Other figures include Malcom X, Muhammad Ali, Frida Kahlo, Che Guevara, and Bob Marley. Unfortunately my lack of knowledge prevents me from knowing who the man is on the far left… if anyone knows, please send me a comment. Thanks!

Land of Sky Blue Waters

Tonight I asked my friend Daki, before heading over to his house, “Hey, is there any cool art in your neighborhood I can photograph before I come over?  Like a mural or sculpture or something?”

He said, “I don’t really think so Miss Deb.  In Montclair?  Naaaahhh… ”

“Hey wait.” he added.  “There IS something.  And it’s actually really cool!!”

Now that is the story of Oakland.

I think anyone in this great city can find an amazing work of art nearly anywhere.  It’s all around us.  The trick is simply to notice.

And with that being said, here is the “really cool” mural from Montclair…



Artist signs as only “Stefen” with a date of 3/1/99 and a dedication that is no longer legible.

Looks like we’re on a roll… Stay tuned for more murals!

“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.” ~ MLK Jr.

September 1, 2009

IMG_0428This gorgeous and profound mural is located on Lakeshore avenue under the 580 overpass.  It’s nestled between my favorite movie theater (The Grand Lake Theater, which never shows commercials and still hosts it’s wurlitzer organist on Friday and Saturday nights) and my favorite farmers market, the incredible Grand Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm.

I was unable to find any history on the mural other than the painted inscription which states it was painted by Susan Greene, Meera Desai, students from Westlake Junior Highschool, members of Project YES and the East Bay Conservation Corps, with funding from the California Department of Conservation, EBRPD, and a MLK Jr. Grant.

If anyone has more information, please send me a comment.