Project: Carrington Jellyfish - 2015
Dimensions: 75' x 4'
Medium: Oils on Concrete
Location: Carrington and Harrington Way near 35th Avenue, Oakland, CA
My friend, Margaret Tilden, sent a photo one day on my Facebook page of a mural in Spain: someone had painted some giant goldfish on a set of stairs. I hit the like button, it was beautiful. Then I got a text response from Cynthia Elliot, an activist with Keep Oakland Beautiful, one of my favorite Oakland groups. KOB sponsors folks putting mosaics on garbage cans, installs benches and places planters etc. Cynthia mentioned the 72 Steps-that’s how the locals refer to the Carrington Steps. Although having grown up in Oakland, there are places I’ve never been to or heard of and this was one of them.
This steep location was getting a mosaic treatment on one of the long walls that had been hit with repetitive graffiti. The steps had been vandalized in every way imaginable. People had thrown whole gallons of paint down the steps. Refrigerators and other big appliances were thrown down. Even a car engine had been shoved over the top! The steps were chipped, cracked and drenched in toxic who knows what. Neighbors had banded together to collectively care for the steps, sweeping, picking up trash, pulling weeds and painting over the graffiti. After all the care, it was like a secret park-a local treasure to show friends. Children walk up and down these steps twice a day-there are schools on either end. Locals use these steps to get to and from their jobs. It took 11 days to complete.
My ongoing thanks to assistants Kristi Holohan and Haley Summerfield for helping out along with some local young men referred by the Spanish Speaking Unity Council. Thank you to KOB for the funding help.