Murals are all tributes in a way, representing a slice of culture important to a business, a community, an entire city and so much more. So, in the spirit of Arts Month, we at the Post have partnered with the Arts Council for Long Beach to bring you our October Arts Month of Murals.
Using the Arts Council’s working database of the wide array of murals located throughout the city, once a week during the month of October we’ll bring to your attention five murals that you may have never heard of or had a chance to visit yet, grouped under one cohesive theme and plotted on a comprehensive map. So, whether you choose to visit each one or just read about them, you can find out where they are, who they were painted by and when they were completed.
Read below to learn about five music-related murals in Long Beach (and stay tuned for next week’s list).
Nate Dogg Tribute
Photo courtesy of Homeland Cultural Center.
Following the cancellation of Meeting of Styles in San Francisco, a forum for the international urban art community founded in Germany nearly 15 years ago, Chicago graffiti artist Demon and Avignon graffiti artist Sock traveled to Long Beach last month.
The two had already heard of Homeland Cultural Center, and contacted Jose Martinez, the organization’s murals coordinator, who gave them the go-ahead to paint there, according to Community Services Supervisor James Ruggirello.
“Being from out of town, they associate Long Beach and the hip hop scene with Nate Dogg[...],” said Ruggirello. “The inscription ‘All Dogz Go To Heaven’ refers to a tribute song by rapper The Game. Nate Dogg died in 2011. The other letters are the artists' initials and various dates. The central image is original.”
You can’t see the mural from the street, as it’s located on a wall facing the building’s inner courtyard. It’s also temporary, but will remain visible at least until the end of the year, said Ruggirello.
Photo courtesy of the artist, Marcel "SEL" Blanco.
Harmony, featuring a portrait of Billie Holiday expressively singing, celebrates jazz music. Artist Marcel “SEL” Blanco, who recently painted Dream for the Creative Corridor Challenge in Long Beach’s Uptown area, worked with nonprofit organization Beautify Earth to complete this work in the Ninth District last year.
Blanco posted a work-in-progress picture on his Facebook page, stating he was doing his part to “bring Harmony to the world,” as well as a final picture on July 11, 2015. He called the experience “an amazing time,” saying he “got nothing but love from the community.”
Mariposa de Barrio
Photo by Stephanie Rivera.
The 125-foot-long Mariposa de Barrio or “Butterfly of the Neighborhood” mural was unveiled during the opening of Jenni Rivera Memorial Park on Thursday, July 2, 2015, which would have been the 46th birthday of the late Banda singer and Long Beach native.
Funded by Jenni Rivera Enterprises, the mural was painted by artists Sergio Ramirez, Daniel Antelo of Wall Dogs and Rivera’s son, Michael Rivera, according to the Long Beach Post article.
“The city of Long Beach watched that woman ride a bike eight months pregnant with her 4-year-old daughter in the back to make it from home, which was a garage, to daycare, to school, to work and back home,” her sister, Rosie Rivera, said during the ceremony. “That woman grew and turned into that beautiful butterfly. Long Beach City was the cocoon that made it possible for that caterpillar to turn into a butterfly.”
Community of Music
Screenshot of an image captured by Google Street View in April.
Completed in 1989 by Compton-raised artist Ben Valenzuela and assistants Brittany Powers, Glen Sabalza, Opie Ortiz and Art Valenzuela, Community of Music depicts different styles of music being performed by people in different parts of the world. The mural was sponsored by the Long Beach Department of Parks and Recreation, according to information available through USC Digital Library.
“We can learn a lot from taking in the variety of instruments and cultures depicted in the mural,” states the Arts Council’s description of the mural. “Community of Music portrays how important music is for different cultures.”
Located on the exterior of the playground wall at George Washington Middle School, the mural was a part of the Mural Mentor Project, according to the Los Angeles Mural Conservancy.
Three years after the mural was completed, Valenzuela would earn his MFA from Cal State Long Beach and, alongside Trace Fukuhara and Heather Green, mentor 80 youth in Long Beach to create a series of portable murals throughout the city, including Westside Montage, according to the conservancy.
Photo courtesy of the Arts Council for Long Beach.
Commissioned by Floyd’s 99 Barbershop, Venice-based artist Jonas Never completed this tribute to Sublime in July 2015. The work depicts a few different shots of Bradley Nowell, his dalmatian Lou Dog, the Queen Mary, Nowell’s son Jakob as a baby and Opie Ortiz’ iconic sun, pictured on the 1992 40oz. To Freedom album.
Underneath the Old English lettering spelling out “Long Beach”, a section of the mural pictures lyrics from the song, "What I Got," “Life is too short so love the one you got,” that was released on Sublime’s third album in 1996.
Screenshot from Jonas Never’s Instagram @never1959.
The artist, known for painting iconic athletes and influencers, says his first real mural was with Floyd’s 99 Barbershop in West Los Angeles, he told Clad in an interview. Prior to his dive into murals, Never said all his walls were graffiti.