The Artists Behind the Murals
A couple of weeks ago, the Be in Bakersfield team joined forces with Locale Farm to Table to create something beautiful in Downtown Bakersfield. We put out a call for local artists to submit their unique pieces for one of five blank canvases behind Locale. We found the perfect five people, and they created something more beautiful than we could have imagined. Upon completion of their murals, we asked the artists a little about their story + why they chose to be in Bakersfield. These are their stories:
BETH CHANEY - Be PRESENT in Bakersfield.
I was born and raised here and come from a large Basque family, so my roots run deep in Bakersfield. I have taught art at West High School for 6 years and love to participate in the art community when I can. I have two kids, two dogs and a husband and they are my world! I saw the contest on Instagram and got really excited about an idea for a mural and submitted my design. I was contacted by Be In Bakersfield to do a collaboration of my concept with their branding. We worked together on the design and the result is the Be In Bakersfield mural. My hope is that people can interact with it and try to be more present, in whatever they are doing or situation they are in, especially in our community.
I love the challenge that public art brings, every new piece is completely different based on location. The elements are always a factor, it's usually physically challenging which I enjoy, even though it can be exhausting. I like that it has to be completed within a relatively short amount of time and that it is temporal, usually. It really ties in to my whole concept of being "present"... you have to enjoy it while your with it! If you are a passerby and you happen to walk by while the artist is working you get to be in that moment and watch something being made. You get to see the process! I like being able to chat with people and answer questions people might have about anything I am working on and the process, etc. Sparking interest in art or the arts is so important to me and public art is a great way to insert that conversation literally, on the streets.
Follow Beth on Instagram at @basqugirl
HANNAH WEBB - Be UNIQUE in Bakersfield.
I found the project online while browsing through Southern California art opportunities. Since I hadn't had the chance to paint in Bakersfield before, I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted my mural to represent and honor Bakersfield without being too obvious. My piece is based on a Southern California magpie, a native bird that I feel represents the spaciousness and natural landscape of the area. I think public art creates cultural landmarks, which is a great way to bring communities together. For example, city beautification through installation of murals reminds residents that where they live is special and unique.
All artists appreciate the opportunity to show their work, so I hope we can keep creating these spaces for creativity in our community.
Follow Hannah on Instagram at @theobanoth
DANIELLE LOUSTALOT - Be UNAFRAID in Bakersfield.
I was in Hawaii when I sketched my design, after being inspired by the greenery there and noticing how many plants there that also grow beautifully in Bakersfield. I actually had to create it with a pack of crayons I purchased at a little market down the street! As a landscaper and lover of lush, green spaces, I wanted to show my community that you can create a beautiful paradise in your own backyard, even here in our city. The quote by Elsie de Wolfe is one that resonates with me and aligns with my mentality toward my design style, my home, and my life, and I knew it would resonate with many others as well. I love how public art is so admired – even craved – by people in our community. In my experience, artists here are so supported and encouraged to keep creating. It means so much to me when people share Loma Lane and my talents and services with their friends and family. And for anyone looking for home and landscape design, I’m your girl!
Follow Danielle on Instagram at @loma_lane
GABRIEL CARDENAS - Be GIVING in Bakersfield.
I heard of the mural project from a cousin in Bakersfield who told me I should consider applying, and I’m so glad he did! The story behind my piece is adventure, outdoors, and environment all moving towards some form of spiritual experience and serenity. Air, water, and earth all come together to find the true meaning of life.
I loved creating this piece, and I love public art because of how it engages with those around it and how it offers educational practices of knowing and learning. Art is all about being a part of a community, and that’s what I seek to do. I am currently painting around the world, in constant pursuit of opportunities for people like me who wish to express themselves via art.
Follow Gabriel on Instagram at @gxbcxr
JENNIFER WILLIAMS - Be WEIRD in Bakersfield, Be DIFFERENT in Bakersfield.
When I saw the call on instagram, I had lots of ideas flowing through my head. So much so, that I hesitated to even submit because it seemed a bit overwhelming. Luckily I had a few cheerleaders who kept encouraging me, even after I told them I wasn’t going to do it, because they knew how passionate I was about seeing diverse art downtown. (I have some awesome and persistent friends!) So, I cleared my mind of what I thought I “should” be creating. Instead, I thought about what I would really like to see on a wall downtown, and I created something just for me. This actually made it all the more surprising and exciting when it actually got selected. It felt great to know others had connected with my art too. To me, it’s a piece of art created to represent friendship and sisterhood with people who understand where you come from. I wanted to see something colorful, bold, feminine, inclusive, and a little edgy. I also felt it was important to create something that could be open to interpretation. I love that it lives in the abstract, but is also figurative. Although we have murals of varying styles, almost every mural we have downtown is a representational interpretation of something, with a few that are fully abstract. People are comfortable with shapes and patterns and pictures of things they recognize... and my mural has all of those things too in a way... but let’s be honest, it’s all jumbled up in a Picasso-esque way that is a little more quirky than we’re used to seeing. I’m really proud to have added that variety to the downtown landscape.
I love the way people interact with public art and create a connection to a place that otherwise may not occur. Art truly has the ability to transform a community. It generates pride, adds value, and creates a connection. Adding that visible human touch to a structure subconsciously says to all who see it “we’re here, and we care.” If there is one thing my mural design being selected (... and now embraced by the public) has taught me, it’s that people are ready for a little edge and a whole lot of fun! :-)
Follow Jennifer on Instagram at @willisandwilliams
A huge THANK YOU to these five artists who created something worth talking about, something that makes all of us proud to Be in Bakersfield.