Bon Air Mural ~ 2531 J St

10/18/11 Update: The Bon Air mural was removed earlier this month due to dry rot in the siding. Russ Andris reports that the owner plans to have a new mural take its place, hopefully by the same artist who created this original mural.

This spray paint mural was created by Joshua Silveira and Gabriel Romo for Bon Air Sandwiches in March 2007 (1). I found the term ‘urban tattoo’ from a blog article on local murals which says that innovative, funky, and edgy “21st-century murals [have been] cleverly and appropriately dubbed ‘urban tattoos’, by Bonnie Shafsky a local landscape designer.” (2)

Previously, the wall of the market was graffitied, and artists Silveira and Romo approached the owners of Bon Air about creating a mural (3). Since the mural, the wall has not been graffitied again. An article in Urbanites quotes Ham Nagin, co-owner of Bon Air, telling the story how the mural came about:

[The artists] approached us about painting the mural… Before, [the wall] had graffiti, so we sat down together and decided what to do. Now, the mural shows one person eating a sandwich, and they came up with [the idea] of another person having a drink, and they used my son as a model for that. Nagin says he’s gotten a lot of positive comments about the piece; a win-win-win for the artists, Bon Air and art lovers of all stripes (4).

As I was photographing the mural,the background image came into focus, and suddenly the Tower Bridge emerged behind the sandwich eater. Before that moment, my eyes hadn’t seen those shapes as anything but abstract elements of the mural. Viola! There was the Sacramento skyline.

The wooden birds are mounted using spacers to they come out of the wall at various depths, and a few birds are painted directly on the wall. Note the bird poop on the bird below. Graffiti artists may have respect for each other’s works but birds will crap anywhere.

You can learn more about the artists on their websites, and

Title: Bon Air Mural
Joshua Silveira and Gabriel Romo
Date: 2007
Montana Gold spray paint. Birds in wood. (5)
Location: East facade of Bon Air Market, 2531 J Street

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