REVISIONIST HISTORY OF SAN PABLO AVE
The painting creates a facsimile of the street scene that existed before the freeway was there, peopled with the different cultural groups who lived in the area during the last 500 years or so. The storefront business evolved into historical themes, like the Liberty movie theater relating the events of the Kaiser Shipyard. The 80 below cafe references not only the highway above, but also the chilled temperature in that open wind tunnel underneath. I started this painting in 1991. It was shut down for a couple of years as Caltrans widened the Freeway. I rearranged the Gas station after they destroyed the previously painted middle section and created a painted museum to the additional wall on the south end. The painting was finished in 1995. Some local friends and artists modeled as figures including Susan Wehrle, Ray Haywood, Despie Bonadias, Ralph Nichols and Jerarde Guiterrrez who also helped out with some painting. Gratuitous visual mention of museum artists includes Frank Stella, Joseph Beuys, Deborah Butterfield, Roy Lichenstein and others.
This was the first of my “Gateway” paintings that entailed partial street closure to paint and letter the over-crossing. It caused quite a traffic jam on San Pablo Avenue, causing the driver of a classic 57 Chevy to yell in passing “Lotta bull s—t for nuthin’ man!”