Project: Concord Historical Mural - 1992
Dimensions: 20' x 60'
Medium: Keim mineral silicates on concrete
Location: Corner of Salvio and Galindo, Concord
In 1991, I was approached by the Executive Director of the City of Concord's Arts in Public Places Program, Hawley Holmes, to produce a large mural in the downtown area. It took a while to find a location, and a number of walls were considered, before we finally settled on one at the corner of Salvio and Galindo Streets.
We met with Ruth Galindo, the granddaughter of one of Concord's founders, she brought out a family album for inspiration, and we selected the Fourth of July as our theme.
We had chosen a photo image from 1894, and discussed the colorization of the image for the purposes of the mural. Concord's Arts Program was being closely scrutinized, having just been through a serious controversy sparked by it's "Spirit Poles" project. The longevity of the mural was brought up as a potential issue. I suggested Keim paints as a durable option, having worked with them on my Lake Merritt Mural Project a few years earlier. However, Keim paints (https://www.keim-usa.com) create a permanent bond with masonry surfaces, so all of the old paint would have to be removed, at additional expense.
I like to pre-mix my colors, at the time Keim made only nine color choices. I mixed and labeled my containers with notes so as not to lose track. You can mix the Keim colors together to some extent to make more colors, but the range is limited compared to acrylics.
When you first apply the silicates, they are extremely delicate, like a butterfly wing, but over time they harden up. The wall needed to be sandblasted, and equipment was donated, along with hundreds of pounds of sand. One thing's for sure, being inside a sandblaster's space suit in 100-degree heat is a place I will never, ever go (at least not voluntarily) again.
Concord at that moment in time was a pretty conservative place. Now Concord is much more cosmopolitan. It's amazing to see how much it's changed in 24 years.
The mural was funded by Concord’s Art in Public Places Program, Clementina (provided the sandblasting equipment), Lloyd King (provided storage at the Old Hangout bar-since removed), Stacy Smith helped with scaffolding, Steve Mannshardt, Lana Rose, Peter Vasconi, Lisa Carol, Kayra McConnell, Bill and Marian Fontes, John Wehrle and the Concord Historical Society.