Category Archives: Local Artist

Few & Far Mural ~ 24th & S Alley

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A long stretch of blank wall on the CED building in the alley at Round Corners (near 24th & S) was brought to life last September by an all-women crew of street artists called, Few & Far (1). The crew, who flew in from numerous cities across the country to gather and paint together in Sacramento, created this amazing piece of work in one weekend.

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The Art:

Few & Far created this mural with an animal rights theme, and in this video called, It’s a jungle errr day, you can see the mural emerging under the artists’ hands. Scroll down to the bottom of this post, where you can see photos of the artists at work.

The mural includes a shout-out to Ironla, the sponsors of the mural (near the monkey), and, looking carefully, you can find many other notes tucked between the images including a poignant, “Rip Gavin”. Check out the Few & Far site which has a wonderful panorama photo of the mural.

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The Artists:

Few & Far is a a crew of women from around the world who skateboard and create graffiti/street art to beautify the cities and ghettos. They seek to build community through sharing art and friendships.

F&F connects women by creating social and artistic exchange, by showcasing art on the streets, on walls and in other high profile venues. Few and Far fosters and celebrates the power and expression of female graffiti and street artists. Importantly, Few and Far consists of a team of open minded, highly creative, cutting edge, dedicated women. (2)

Artists who painted this mural: Erin yoshi, Ursula Young, Jenn Ponci, Meme, Ksra, Hops, Reds, Agana, Dime, Merlot, R-Peezy, Megen Devine and Baybay-FNF Khonda TMD (#).

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Big thanks to Kenny Nonymous for the shots below! He met up with Few & Far over the weekend the crew was painting and snapped some action photos.

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Title: Few & Far Animal Rights mural
Artist: Few & Far (http://fewandfarwomen.com) including Erin yoshi, Ursula Young, Jenn Ponci, Meme, Ksra, Hops, Reds, Agana, Dime, Merlot, R-Peezy, Megen Devine and Baybay-FNF Khonda TMD
Date: 2012
Media: Paint
Location: Alley on 24th between R & S


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1) http://ransackedmedia.com/2012/10/01/downtown-eyesore-transformed-into-beautiful-street-art
(2) https://www.facebook.com/FewandFargirls/info
(3) http://fewandfarwomen.com/portfolio/fnf-sacramento/

Brazen ~ CSUS

A pair of legs. Warrior’s legs, I’m sure. Maybe Roman by the look of the sandals. Brazen. This is a piece by Stephen Kaltenbach that stands near the entrance of the CSUS Alumni Center.

“Only a playful ease with unease can yield pleasure and possibly reveal the complexity of an artist whose work is elusive on principle” ~ Elaine O’Brien (1).

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The Art:

This piece was created with faux cast iron and stands 5’6″ tall. It is “part of a series that utilizes the destruction and repair and reconstruction of Kaltenbach’s favorite sculpture from the history of art as metaphor for the temporal aspect of both civilization and human experience” (2).

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The Artist:

Sacramento is home to several of Kaltenbach’s works including, Time to Cast Away Stones, Matter Contemplates Spirit, and Peace. Kaltenbach graduated from UCD, lived in New York where he was part of the avant-garde scene there in the late 1960s, and then moved to Sacramento to teach art at CSUS from 1970-2005 (1).

Going against the grain of the art scene of keeping artistic ideas to one’s self, Kaltenbach intentionally sought to keep his creativity open and looked for opportunities to share artistic possibility with others (3). He called this spreading of influence Casual Art, and Teach Art was one element of the Casual Art principle that his role at CSUS gave him a platform to embody (4).

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Title: Brazen
Artist: Stephen J. Kaltenbach (www.stephenkaltenbach.com)
Date: 1988
Media: Faux cast iron
Location: CSUS Alumni Center


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(1) http://www.midtownmonthly.net/art/bad-ideas/)

(2) http://godesigngo.com/es/art-meets-design/design-loves-art-at-the-pacific-design-center-presents-lita-albuquerque-and-stephen-kaltenbach-opening-march-25-5-8pm

Desert Cactus and Prickly Pear ~ 23rd & K Alley

A midtown business facing a problem with frequent intruders on their back patio hired artists rather than security guards to resolve the situation. Artist Margaret Arnold painted and Steve Cook sculpted, and together they secured the 30-foot-wide patio wall behind Western Properties office (1).

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The Art:
The three-sided mural was painted by Arnold and is called, “Desert Cactus” (2). The sculptures of cacti and aloe vera on top of the wall are called “Prickly Pear” and were made by Cook from rebar, nails, and saw-blades (3). Cook also built a secure metal door to replace the original wooden gate (4).

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The Artists:

Arnold lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills. She paints primarily in oils but also does illustration and craftwork such as beaded skulls and decorated eggs (5, 6). You can see a large gallery of her works on her website, www.margaretarnoldgallery.com. Russ Andris has a great photo of Arnold painting the mural.

Cook lives in Clarksburg and creates metal sculptures and furniture from cast off objects (7). You can see a gallery of his works on his webpage, stevecooksculpture.com and his facebook page.

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Title: Desert Cactus & Prickly Pear
Artist: Margaret Arnold and Steve Cook
Date: 2013
Media: paint & rebar, nails, and saw-blades
Location: Alley side of 2318 K


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(1) http://www.sacramentopress.com/headline/50580/Public_art_grows_in_Midtown_alleys
(2) http://www.sacramentopress.com/headline/50580/Public_art_grows_in_Midtown_alleys
(3) http://www.sacramentopress.com/headline/50580/Public_art_grows_in_Midtown_alleys
(4) http://www.sacramentopress.com/headline/50580/Public_art_grows_in_Midtown_alleys
(5) http://www.margaretarnoldgallery.com/info.html
(6) http://www.margaretarnoldgallery.com/margaretarnold.html
(7) http://www.bluewinggallery.com/july-01-2011-art-receptition.html

Spanish Fly Mural ~ 1723 J

Joplin, Hendrix, and Dylan. A simple and compelling mural by local artist, Pete Bettencourt, on the Spanish Fly Hair Garage Salon parking lot wall.

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The Art:

Bettencourt’s imagery brings alive the expressive soul of these iconic musicians. The mural looks almost unfinished, and maybe more was planned, regardless, the open form with the use of few strong borders or edges draws me into the piece with curiosity in a different way than if it had a more finished look. We can see the early progress of the mural in this photo by Russ Andris.

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The Artist:

Bettencourt is a local artist who has shown in various galleries, created numerous murals, and collaborated with other artists such as 2hERMANO, Skinner, and John Stuart Berger. 2hERMANO posted a video of a freestyle collaboration mural he painted with Bettencourt. One of the local murals by Bettencourt was inside the former Nine16 Skate Shop (now out of business) and I’m sure the mural has been painted over. Fortunately, Russ Andris captured a photo of the mural featuring Bob Marley and other musicians while Nine16 was still open. Here’s a video interview with Bettencourt from his March 2011 show in LA titled “The Political Paintings of Pete Bettencourt.”

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Title: <unknonwn>
Artist: Pete Bettencourt
Date: 2008
Media: paint
Location: 1723 J


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Lily Moon Mural ~ 1115 21st

Thoughts of Van Gough drift through my imagination whenever I see this mural along 21st Street in the alley between J & K. Yellows, blues, purples, oranges and reds pop out of the black backdrop. Brush strokes in swirls, lines and dashes form a mountain lake sunset landscape, and, along the bottom edge, silhouetted figures do everyday things like kiss, take photos, and drink beer. Turns out these figures were inspired by the street people that the artist, Lily Moon, got to know during the three weeks she painted the mural (1).

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The Art:

Quoted in a Sac State article, Moon said:

“It was three weeks of hell…. We were up there … painting in the rain. We had this crowd of homeless people looking up at us and talking to us and we really got to know the culture around us. Really if I think about street art, that was it right there….. Every little painstaking minute was worth it because of the people that I got to meet.” (2)

Prior to Moon’s mural, between March and November of 2011, three different murals came and went on this wall (3):
1. Running mural possibly by Shaun Burner, prior to March 2011
2. Mural by Raul Mejia, prior to Oct 2011
3. Hanami Salon mural by Chris, prior to Nov 2011

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The Artist:

The silhouette figure on the far right (picture below) looks to be an image of the artist with her brush outstretched and color swirling from the tip. Russ Andris caught an actual photo of Moon on the scaffolding while she painted the mural.

During ARTober 2011, Moon was chosen as the Emerging Social Artist of the year in the Transforming Leaders award ceremony (4).

An artist profile page for Moon describes her as “…an artist, a clown of the underground, an old soul with a young heart sewn onto her sleeves. She truly believes her purpose for breathing is to create.” (5) Moon explores many mediums including: paint, photography, carving, sewing, and welding (6).

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Title:
Artist: Lily Moon (Lily’s facebook page, Lily’s deviantART page)
Date: Nov 2011
Media: paint
Location: 1115 21st (on alley between J & K)


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(1) http://www.statehornet.com/campus/sacramento-s-street-art-takes-off/article_f8a8b008-6d5a-11e1-9cd0-0019bb30f31a.html
(2) http://www.statehornet.com/campus/sacramento-s-street-art-takes-off/article_f8a8b008-6d5a-11e1-9cd0-0019bb30f31a.html
(3) http://www.pbase.com/southyuba/image/139621351
(4) http://www.t2ps.com/t2Store/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&Category_id=13
(5) http://www.sactalent.com/emag/story/lily-moon
(6) http://www.sactalent.com/emag/story/lily-moon

Time To Wake Up ~ 17th & T

Letting go. Holding on. Waking up. Local artist, Shaun Burner, recently created this mural of metaphysical themes on the side of the Royal Market at 17th & T (1). Burner told Submerge that the open hand symbolizes letting go and the clutching fist with the oozing substance symbolizes holding on (2).

The Artist:
Burner’s work can be found numerous places around town including: Ancient Futurism mural, American Market mural, and Dimple Records mural.

He is involved in the artist’s collective, Trust Your Struggle (TYS), which is “dedicated to social justice and community activism through the medium of art” (3). Burner created an awesome mural in Guadalajara with TYS that incorporates the architecture of the building, including the window spaces.

Time To Wake Up seems like another part of Burner’s invitation to all of us for living life in creative flow:

Do the best you can with whatever you do. Don’t reflect on the past too much or worry about the future, but be present in this moment that is continually happening, and own that shit (4).

And PS…. with this mini-mural of Pat Morita around the corner (also possibly by Burner, 5), does anyone else see the resemblance to the Karate Kid in the main mural?

Title: Time To Wake Up
Artist: Shaun Burner
Date: 2012
Media: paint
Location: 17th & T


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(1) http://submergemag.com/featured/bicycle-mural-tour-2012/6135/
(2) http://submergemag.com/featured/bicycle-mural-tour-2012/6135/
(3) http://trustyourstrugglecollective.tumblr.com/
(4) http://submergemag.com/featured/bicycle-mural-tour-2012/6135/
(5) http://www.pbase.com/southyuba/image/144740963

Alhambra Sweet Dream ~ 25th btw J & K

The Alhambra Theater was built in 1927 and demolished nearly 50 years later in 1974 after voters rejected a bond measure that would have preserved the historic movie house (1). This mural on 26th between J & K is a remembrance of the lovely theater that once graced our city.

Wikipedia describes the Alhambra as the preeminent movie house in the greater Sacramento area during its era (2). The theater was designed in the Moorish style including a large courtyard and fountain (3).

The interior was lavishly appointed with red carpet, gold trim, and large pillars. It was located directly beyond the eastern terminus of K Street at 1025 Thirty-First Street, now Alhambra Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95816, in the East Sacramento neighborhood. (4)

The Art:

When the beautiful theater was torn down, the community lost a piece of its past, and artist, Stephen Bauer, hopes that his mural reminds people of the treasures in our community and encourages people to take care of the community and their neighborhoods (5). The boy waving goodbye is a metaphor for many area residents who grew up going to the theater and experienced the loss most directly (6).

Bauer choose a fruit label postcard image for the background to reflect several elements of the history of the theater. The orange and yellow tints are indicative of the art deco-style of the theater and the entire design is also reminiscent of fruit label designs popular during that time. The citrus colors and theme also links to the old orange grove that grew on the north side of the building (7).

The Artist:

Bauer lives in Sacramento and is a free-lance wallpaper restorationist (8). A profile page for Bauer on the Artistic License site describes him as having “truly unique genius for historic design” (9).

While he was working on the mural, midtown residents approached him asking about his work.

“They were all excited about having that image here,” Bauer said. “A lot of younger people hadn’t seen what it looked like before.. I think the colors excited them, too. The wall before pretty much went unnoticed. I think the transformation was pretty dramatic to a lot of people.” (10).

Midtown Murals Project

The Alhambra mural was the inaugural mural to kick-off Midtown Murals Project, a non-profit organization that (at one time) planned to create 12 such community murals in Midtown “to beautify and provide a recognizable, positive identity for the area” that focuses on the “rich history, cultural diversification and natural artistic beauty” (11).

Title: Alhambra Sweet Dreams
Artist: Stephen Bauer
Date: 1998
Media: paint
Location: 25th between J & K


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(1) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra_Theatre_%28Sacramento%29
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra_Theatre_%28Sacramento%29
(4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhambra_Theatre_%28Sacramento%29
(5) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(6) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(7) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(8) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(9) http://www.artisticlicense.org/members/bauer/index.html
(10) http://www.seeart.org/murals/news4111.htm
(11) http://www.seeart.org/murals/index.htm

Furlow Furrows Mural ~ 1716 L

“Things that crawl, bite, squirm, slither and cause serious harm; those are the things I dream about. Snakes, lizards, carnivorous mammals, birds, and insects with large mandibles are the most amazing organisms in my surreal world.” (Artist’s statement: The origin of my pathology)

And so we enter the surreal world of artist John Stuart Berger, local artist who “renders mutated organisms for your enjoyment!” Berger worked collaboratively with Dolan Forcier to create this expanse of mural spans a 200′ wall of the building that houses Old Soul coffee house and the Midtown Business Association.

The Art:

The sun is my favorite image in the mural. The quails emitting bright energy bubbles are kind of fun too. Russ Andris has a nice panoramic of the mural as well as some in progress images during the 10 days the mural was being painted. In this video interview, Berger talks some about the process and his meanings of the mural. He says; “I think we are kind of taking one of those bucolic nature scenes and turning it on itself.”

The Artist:

Berger’s day job is at the Short Center North where he facilitates art activities for people with disabilities (1). He has been drawing since he was a child when he began learning how to draw from field guides. Out of this and his zoology/science background emerged his style of crazy, rabid animals (2).

Operation Groucho:

Art can be fun and irreverent, like this mural and like Operation Groucho, which Berger was also a part of with the Badmouth crew here in Sacramento in 2006. Large Groucho glasses were custom-made to fit the disembodied head sculpture at 65th & Folsom.

This video shows the entire operation with glasses finally resting on the sculpture called “Matter Contemplating Spirit” by Stephen Kaltenbach. A News & Review article quotes Kaltenbach’s approval for Operation Groucho: “I’m sorry I missed it…. I thought it showed quite a bit of respect to the piece. Art is supposed to interact with people in different ways. Groucho is one of my favorites, too.”

Title: Furlow Furrows
Artist: John Stuart Berger with Dolan Forcier
Date: 2009
Media: Paint
Location: Parking Lot @ 1716 L St


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(1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBGvnOr4fOI
(2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBGvnOr4fOI

Ishi ~ 24th & Broadway

A wall over-looking a gas station parking lot is a surprising place for such a riveting mural as this one titled, Ishi, painted by Alex Forster (aka Cabrón). Cabrón was selected amongst a pool of entrants in a mural contest by the non-profit organization, Valley Vision, for the 16′ x 80′ external wall of their office building (which is next to the gas station).

The Art:

The contest called for a mural reflecting the Sacramento Valley, and Cabrón focused his piece on the history of the valley:

I wanted to do something about the past of the Sacramento Valley. The first thing that came to my mind was the Californian Gold Rush, the epiphany of the American Dream, which drew tens of thousands of people from all over the world to this area.

The clash with the Native American Peoples and subsequent permanent demographic changes that resulted from this fateful event in American/Californian history is best represented by “Ishi, the last of the Yahi”, who was called the last “savage” alive when he first emerged from the wilderness. (1)

Cabrón’s mural invites us into the story of what happened to Ishi, his tribe, tribes throughout California, and Native American peoples across the entire continent when Europeans arrived in mass numbers. It was indeed a “permanent demographic change” that deserves our willingness to face the deeply disturbing events that happened in the Sacramento valley and throughout the United States.

The History:

One hundred years ago in August of 1911, Ishi appeared on a farm in Oroville unable to speak English or a known Native language (2). He was cited for vagrancy and put in the Butte County jail, but was released when anthropologists from San Francisco were able to identify him as a member of the Yana trip in the Deer Creek region (about 30 miles north west of Chico) (3). Ishi spent the remainder of his life at the University Museum in Berkeley and then at the San Francisco Anthropology Museum (4). He developed a relationship with the anthropologists who were appointed as his guardians, Alfred L. Kroeber and T. T. Waterman, and through him, they learned the story of the decimation of the Yahi people.

The tale Ishi told was grim. The Yana peoples suffered the complete loss of their lands and way of life when the Americans came during the Gold Rush… Ishi used to refer to the time of the American arrival as ‘when the stars fell.’ (5)

The Yahi initially numbered around 400. Lacking firearms, they were destroyed by four raids by armed white settlers. On August 6, 1865, seventeen settlers raided a Yahi village at dawn. In 1866, more Yahis were massacred when they were caught by surprise in a ravine. Around 1867, thirty-three Yahis were killed after being tracked to a cave. Finally, around 1868, four cowboys trapped about thirty Yahis in another cave. (6)

While still a child sometime in the 1870′s, Ishi’s own father was killed in a village massacre. The boy and his mother escaped by jumping into a nearby river. The Yahi who fought to preserve their territory against unequal odds and long range rifles were slaughtered until only a remnant band of 40 or so remained. The survivors of this tiny band hid successfully for nearly forty years, undetected by the outside world.” (7)

The decimation of the Yani people is mirrored in tribe after tribe throughout the history of the Gold Rush and the history of the European migration across America.

The Artist:

Cabrón spent his first 19 years in Vienna, Austria. Since then, he’s been on the road often but always doing art; comics for awhile and then, in his late twenties, he shifted to painting (8). Eventually he made his way to Sacramento, and his gallery page on A Bitchin’ Space describes the back-story for that move:

Cabrón, being an old school cynic from Vienna, firmly believes in the power of irony and consciously decided to move to Sacramento, the “city of gold”, at the height of recession and job scarcity in order to be a full time artist. (9)

In an interview with KVIE, Cabrón speaks to his experience with creating public art:

Public art is so accessible for everyone, anyone can enjoy it. It humbles me too because then I realize the full extent of my work, that I actually can touch someone with a piece of art. that’s what I love the most about it – is the interaction with people. (10)

Valley Vision:

Valley Vision is an ‘action tank’ that is “dedicated to securing the social, environmental and economic health of the Sacramento Region.”

Civic leadership at a regional scale: Valley Vision is a nonprofit association of people and organizations working to secure the social, environmental and economic health of the Sacramento Region. Founded in 1994, we are an objective, nonpartisan “action tank” committed to regional problem-solving as well as impartial research for sound decision-making. We act as a bridge, uniting neighbors and organizations that together can make a real difference in our communities.

Title: Ishi
Artist: Alex Forster (aka Cabrón) (www.cabron.us)
Date: 2010
Media: Paint
Location: 24th & Broadway


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(1) http://www.valleyvision.org/work/vvlocalart.html
(2) http://www.californiamuseum.org/Ishi_100
(3) http://www.californiamuseum.org/Ishi_100
(4) (http://www.theespresso.com/2011/09/ishi-commemorating-the-last-of-the-northern-california-yahi-indians-a-century-later/
(5) http://www.theespresso.com/2011/09/ishi-commemorating-the-last-of-the-northern-california-yahi-indians-a-century-later/
(6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yana_people
(7) http://www.theespresso.com/2011/09/ishi-commemorating-the-last-of-the-northern-california-yahi-indians-a-century-later
(8) http://www.abitchinspace.com/cabron.html
(9) http://www.abitchinspace.com/cabron.html
(10) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edyZWAEEqm0

Mt. Diablo Sunset ~ 2220 J

Anytime of the day, you can travel along J Street and enjoy a ”Marty Stanley sunset” on this large mural. Marty Stanley, a foremost painter of the Sacramento delta, was well known for his paintings of delta sunsets (1). The full title of this mural is, “Mt. Diablo Sunset as seen from Bouldin Island at the confluence of the Mokelumne and San Joaquin Rivers” (2)

The Art:

“I seldom paint the land. I always focus on the water. It’s all about clouds and reflections on the water” (3). Like this mural, Stanley’s landscapes were usually streched horizontally to convey the long Valley and winding Delta waterways (4). Sarah Rohrs calls his work a “sublime marriage of water and sky.” (5).

The Artist:

At just 19 and with no formal training, Stanley, a native of the Sacramento delta, made a decision to pursue life as an artist. In 1988, he opened the Levee Gallery in Ryde, which is on the Sacramento River about 3 miles south of Walnut Grove. Stanely’s body of work includes more than 400 original images of the Delta (6). In addition to the panoramic sunsets like this mural, his also painted much of the nature, architecture and history of the Delta region. He collaborated with Charlie Soderquist to create the book “Sturgeon Tales, Stories of the Delta.” I was saddened to learn that Stanley suffered from mental illness and in 2006 he took his own life (7). You can read more about Stanley on his website: www.martystanley.com.

The Place:

Two places are important in this story: the specific place the mural captures and the Delta as a whole, where Stanley spent his life.

Stanley’s website quotes him describing the importance of growing up in the Delta to his work as an artist: “I believe it was part fate that my parents moved to Isleton when I was only three months old. I was meant to grow up here in the Delta” (8). Stanley attributes much of his stimulation and growth as an artist to the small Delta towns in which he grew up. “Little did I know then, but that atmosphere was offering me the building blocks of my young, formulating mind. It was feeding the creative side of me. It nourished me — the people, shops and restaurants were really fascinating. It was all the fabric of my life, very rich and diverse” (9).

To capture the image of this mural, Stanely stood at the confluence of the Mokelumne and San Joaquin Rivers. The Mokelumne River watershed begins in the Sierra Nevadas just south of highway 88 and flows through Lodi until it meets the San Joaquin. The name Mokelumne is from the Plains Miwok peoples. The San Joaquin River is over 365 miles long. The river starts in the high Sierras west of Fresno and releases into Suisun Bay near Pittsburg (10).

The map below shows Bouldin Island at the “A” pointer which is near the confluence of the Mokelumne and San Joaquin Rivers. Mt. Diablo is in the lower-left area of the map to the south west of Bouldin Island, and Sacramento is near the top of the map to the north.

Title: Mt. Diablo Sunset
Artist: Marty (M.C.) Stanley (www.martystanley.com)
Date: 2000
Media: Paint
Location: 2220 J


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(1) http://www.seeart.org/murals/artistsh.htm
(2) http://www.pbase.com/southyuba/image/88778017
(3) http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20011223/A_LIFE/312239994″
(4) http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2245&dat=19921123&id=q4EzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=KDIHAAAAIBAJ&pg=4409,2618935
(5) http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20011223/A_LIFE/312239994
(6) http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15966245
(7) http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15966245
(8) http://www.martystanley.com/right_nav/meet_the_artist/bio.htm
(9) http://www.martystanley.com/right_nav/meet_the_artist/bio.htm
(10) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Joaquin_River