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 About the Mural:

 

I spent two years walking past this parking structure daily, having no clue that I would paint it and become a professional muralist. My chances of painting at UC Davis Medical Center were two out of over four hundred applicants. The other selected artist, Jose Digregorio, had expertise spanning over a decade and was done in five days! The pressure was on because it was my first mural and in a spot which 10,000 people see daily. As a self-taught artist who would spend months on shoebox-sized paintings, a wall the size of 5-6 cars was also challenging because I had a few weeks to complete it. 

 

The result looks like a solitary flower from afar, but people realize the petals are birds upon closer inspection. That's because the pandemic may make us feel alone, but we're going through this together. The glow emanating from this blossom represents hope, and it's the world's most optimistic mural with regards to COVID-19. While people may not remember my name, the image of this flower stays with each viewer because what was once a dusty parking structure became a highly recognizable location in Sacramento.

 

UC Davis Medical Center

Sacramento, CA.
12x20 feet
2020

Behind the Scenes:

Somehow, the Wide Open Walls board members and UC Davis CEO's office saw a spark in me which I did not perceive at the time. That was because I never sold a painting, and no art gallery accepted me. Assuming I was an expert who knew what they were doing, dozens of people would congratulate me on the mural's progress and say it looked great. But, instead, it was my first project. So my thinking went like this: "Ok, what's next? Unfortunately, there's no instruction manual for these things. If there were one, it would approach 1,000 steps and be much more difficult than setting up a T.V." It felt like the training wheels of life had come off, and I was learning a subject few understood.

I colored the wall with dark shadows the first three days, only to entirely paint over them on the fourth day because my approach wasn't working. However, I trusted my ability to solve problems and learn from mistakes. For example, when blending a smooth gradient in the upper corners, there was a severe concern of falling off the ladder while battling 104-degree weather! Instead, it taught me that my job is about troubleshooting a series of unexpected challenges, and the results are incredible!