The way the story was told to me: Kate Mantilini was a boxing promoter in LA back in the 1930’s (a rarity in those days). A striking brunette, sporting red nails, she reportedly slept – with a gun underneath her pillow. Owner Marilyn Lewis dedicated this restaurant to her mentor. She requested that a boxing themed mural be included to honor Kate. Thom Mayne and Michael Rotundi of Morphosis wanted a distinctive clean design. Thom suggested the inclusion of a ballerina…

Based on the classic middleweight match between Marvin Hagler and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, the painting developed into a visual music composition in my mind and on paper, the ghostly dancer a hallucinatory representative of the black lights of unconsciousness. Morphosis also designed the orrery sculpture on the far end, which encapsulates various fragments of the building including the flying curve mural wall. The mural was painted in situ while the restaurant was being constructed, work the 2 – 10 p.m. shift, overlapping with the construction crew.

My dog, Sawdust, sleeps on the floor. Three weeks after I finished the painting, my son was born. Thanks, Susan.

Marvin Mervel was the supervising architect who made all this work, and Adam Lewis helped keep his mom Marilyn’s dream alive for 27 years. He told me the story that Marvin came in for dinner, saw the painting – and fell off his chair.

I wish I could have been there.