El Sueño de la Mariposa (The Dream of the Butterfly) in San Jose, California
Last month, I put the finishing touches on a 140-foot-long public mural commissioned by the City of San Jose. This community mural can be tracked down on the corner of Midfield Road and Havana Road (by the Story Road exit off of the 101 Freeway.)
Most of the residents of the community are first or second-generation immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and the monarch migration theme in the mural symbolically parallels their own journeys. The girl represents the hopes and dreams every generation holds for their children. The mandala behind the girl includes peacock feather patterns, which represent pride and nobility, the birthright of every human being. There are arrows extending out of the mandala, representing the infinite directions our dreams can take us, and the circles, the echoes of the dreams, represent the many moons it takes to bring a dream to fruition.
I was selected by the local Tropicana-Lanai neighborhood association, who had lobbied for years (through the tenure of multiple council members) to have this “dead” space, an area that had been used as an illegal dumpsite, transformed into a community space with a park. The mural came first, but the park is scheduled to be built in 2022. I met with two community groups to get their input on the design, and incorporated their feedback to make sure the community felt like the artwork would be a perfect fit. The City of San Jose hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday. Councilmember Maya Esparza and community organizers spoke about the vision and effort it took to accomplish this project. I was humbled and touched by their efforts to improve their community as well as their heartfelt words of appreciation for the artwork. (Check out all the pictures for this project here.)
The flowering plant around the central butterfly in the mural is milkweed. I hope the community decides to plant milkweed along the wall to help sustain the monarch population and so that the kids can encounter monarchs at their park. Life and art dancing together…
The garden on the last three panels represents the safety and abundance that we seek in our own hero’s journeys. The blooms will also provide a colorful and playful backdrop for the park. I included a “selfie-moment” butterfly that is perfectly sized for the future park’s younger patrons. Wings murals always make such great photo ops!
My van served as a shady mobile studio, snack shack, and nap central during this project. 185,000 miles later and I’m as grateful as ever for a vehicle that morphs along with me wherever my advantures take me.
New Community Center Artwork
The Los Altos Community Center opened its doors as the new “living room of the community” on October 2, 2021. I collaborated with local environmentalist and artist Linda Gass on this project, turning her aerial view designs of the local landscape over time into full wall murals. The main entrance mural features indigenous dwellings along what is now Permanente Creek. Linda consulted with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council to ensure the village details were accurate.
The second mural, located at the south entrance, features the same creek in the 1850’s when the landscape was dominated by orchards.
The community center provides a space that will foster deeper connections among residents in Los Altos. It will be a community asset for generations to come. Linda and I hope that by celebrating the history of the land the city of Los Altos was built on, that the artwork will remain relevant as long as the center itself.
The Bears are Leaving Town…
My bear was auctioned off for $10,000 last Saturday! We will miss the 54 art bears in Los Altos. They have been the perfect conversation starter among strangers, and a playful way to share the creativity of the many artists in Los Altos.
It’s been a big month! This little bear is ready for hibernation. Wishing you a month of cozy-pumpkin-woolen-snuggle time.