Project: Pacific PInball Museum Interior Murals 2007 - 2016
Medium: Acrylics on wallboard / canvas
Location: 1510 Webster Street, Alameda, CA
1.) Main room - 2 walls each 6' x 55'
2.) Canvas works (10 murals) varying sizes 8' x 8' - 10' x 14'
3.) Birthday Party room 3' x 14'
Main Room- As the Pacific Pinball Museum continued to grow and take over new commercial spaces on Webster Street, I'd suggested some mural size pinball graphics to customize the walls. When we moved into the former record store gallery in 2008, I created a design to enhance the space that would be visible above the pinball machines. While sketching the layout late one night, I was alone in the space, with scaffolding and my tool table nearby. No one had been in the storefront for 2-3 hours, and the businesses on either side had been closed since 6:00pm. Although there were a few tenants upstairs, this particular night was completely quiet.
My tape measure was on the table, along with a couple of pencils and some scotch tape. In the silence, I watched as the tape measure suddenly jumped off the table and flew about 7 feet through the air, landing on the floor and almost hitting the wall. There was no spooling sound from inside the mechanism, as one might expect if it had been over-wound, no nothing.
I looked around, and not a soul was there but myself. Later on, at some point, I overheard a story about Jim Morrison, of the Doors, being a former tenant in the building, and heard that some other people had experienced some mysterious, unexplainable happenings there as well. An unnerving experience, for me anyway.
The mural was finished in about a month, with the help of many volunteers, including Ed Cassel, Eric Kos, Doug McFarland, Dave Buchanan and a few others.
2) Canvas Works- While looking at the Marin County Civic Center event space with Michael Scheiss, Executive Director of the PPM, I envisioned murals being displayed above what would become the largest pinball show in the world. Working in my cramped studio space of our houseboat, I created an 10' by 10' reproduction of the artwork from the back glass of Gottlieb's "Majorettes" machine from the early '60s. I projected the image in quadrants, and realigned it by hand, with barely enough room to spare. The finished canvas rolled up was 10 feet long, and getting it out of the hull of the houseboat without any mishaps was an adventure in itself. When the mural was hung at the exposition that first year, most people didn't fully grasp what it was, and mistook it for a giant mylar reproduction. A few old-timers looked more closely, and their jaws remained open for some time.
Word spread, and I was approached by Ed Cassel, who said he might like to create some pinball-themed murals of his own. Over time, Eric Kos and D'arci Rhine joined in the fun, and, to date, over thirty of these hand-painted canvases have been created. Most of these are now on display at our new warehouse.
Most of the canvases are now on display at our new warehouse at Alameda Point building 169. I displayed for the first time my tenth pinball canvas “Queen of Hearts” at my retrospective show at Warehouse 416 in November of 2016. Queen of Hearts will join Flipper on the walls of San Francisco's Musee Mecanique this fall.
3) Birthday party room mural- In early 2016, Ed Cassel and I teamed up again to paint another collage image for the new birthday party room at the Pacific Pinball Museum. This area is now joined and flows from the main room next door. Although normally used as a gallery, we've held some large gatherings there, including our Pinball/Beer events, and the "Sailing Through Pinball" show. This time, I wanted to take some recognizable images from pinball machines, and include them as content in the mural. Joining us were mural painter Kristi Holohan, and her student, Nancy Acosta. The idea was to put in one or two familiar characters, along with some rarer ones, and make a kind of game out of being able to name which images came from which machines.
Dan Fontes (L) with Ed Cassel (R)