Dedicated to the men and women whose labor helped build the community we enjoy today
The corner of High St. and W. Milwaukee St.
in downtown Janesville, Wi. had seen better days. This building was the Milwaukee Bar for many years. It now is a Mexican restaurant, The Laz Azteca. It needed a little paint.
The Neighborhood buildings are important structures in Janesville history. Some beautifully restored, some derelict. Hope that the mural is a tiny step in the right direction
Across from the Armory, and directly across the street from the mural stands The Monterey Hotel. When completed in 1930, at the start of the great depression, it was the jewel of the region. The Kennedy's, Joe Lewis, The King of Siam, were a few of the notable guests of this grand Art Deco Building. Why would the King of Siam visit ? George S. Parker Started the Parker Pen CO. here and was a early pioneer in civil aviation. He would fly people from around the globe in for business. I am in fact a proud graduate of Parker Sr. High. On another personal note, my mother, Naomi Richter, was the first female Real Estate Broker, in Janesville. She had her first office in the corner of the Monterey. Have not lost faith in the hope that it will be restored.
Because Janesville had always been a "G.M." town, it was natural to approach the local GM auto dealership first about sponsorship. Owner and President of Fagan Automotive, Bob Clapper, was very receptive to the project. Besides the obvious appreciation of our auto heritage, Bob shared a civic sence to help this little corner out, a little bit.
This was the initial sketch for the project. A 24 x 36" acrylic painting on canvas.
With a 90 year history I decided to focus on one 5 year period of production. The late 1950's.
The phrase Iconic, is sometimes over used. These auto's have stood the test of time and do reflect a design period that has left these models some of the most collectible around. Famed designer Harley Earl had a part in most.
Mr. Clapper at Fagan was more than informative and made some suggestions. As you can tell he gave me complete freedom in final design and execution! That does not always happen
Because this was started in October, time was of the essence.The building itself was, and is still in need, of a little TLC. The mural site prep began with multiple power wash. Then primed with three coats of latex primer.
The paint used is from NOVA. A Los Angeles company that specializes in mural paint. Designed to last.
Here is the JATV you tube of my talk at Janesville Art League. This was held at the beautiful Women's Club Building, just blocks from the mural site.
I am a little long winded so I talked for a hour. You may want to "sample"...
The Janesville Armory, with it's poignant history, especially in the Bataan death march in W.W. II, is a beautifully restored building. In the 1960's and 70's it served as a venue for live music on weekends. Early versions of Cheap Trick and every local band played there. The epicenter of the "circuit".
The " Janesville Circuit " Mural
Photo courtesy of Pat Sparling Photography
It should be noted that "The Plant" was part of the "Arsenal of Democracy" During the war years (1941-1945) all civilian production was halted to produce a variety of military related things, including this restored beauty...
The building which The Monterey reflects from is the old YMCA building
A beautiful building in it's own right. Gideon's Bible had their beginnings in the Janesville Y. Even the Beatles mention it in a song! It sits kitty corner from the hotel.
Behind the '56 Bel Air you can see the grid I used to scale the cars. I had intended to project them for sake of speed and detail. However, the ambient light from street made that all but impossible.
I would like to acknowledge the two talented artists that helped me on this project. Mr. Kurt Buggs of "Signworks" helped mostly with the graphic's end of things. Not easy to do lettering on a brick surface! Of course Kurt likes to stay close to the ground! LOL And that is where Mr. Luke Woodring comes in. At 20 years our junior, Luke commuted from home near Milwaukee and had no problems doing the ladder height in flip flops. Very talented oil paint, check out his work on Instagram.
Of course many people lent a hand doing some work that needed to be done. I hope I do not forget anyone but all are old friends. Pete Tracey is a home remodeler and had some awesome equipment such as power washers and such. Shelly Palen offered to paint back part of wall not part of mural but eyesore. As well, Drummer and musician Mark Sherman helped with the Milw St façade.