Above: a detail of the mural
Have you seen the mural that is unfolding on our wall on London Street? Earlier this year SFC won an Excelsior Community Action Grant (a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Supervisor John Avalos) for sidewalk beautification for our school. Part of the money will go towards sidewalk greening, and the other part of the money is for the mural.
The muralist is Josh Talbott, an artist who lives in the town of Los Osos, CA, a coastal town near San Luis Obispo. Josh has done a wide variety of paintings, from still lifes to portraits to murals. He has done a whole series of still lifes with LEGO people. You can check out his website to see pictures of his other amazing work.
“I’m really curious about things,” says Josh. He listens to podcasts and books on tape to learn about new things, and what he learns gets incorporated into his work. In designing the mural for our school, Josh says his goal is to spark children’s imagination. “I wanted to make it obscure enough to make people ask questions: ‘That is so cool! What is it doing here? What does it mean?'”
Because the mural is so long, he views it as a narrative, like a story unfolding. “I start with the ocean, it’s one of the things I love, and it gives me momentum.” Some of the ‘sparks’ in the mural so far include the periodic table of elements (“because the ocean has a little of everything”), a molecular diagram, a DNA spiral, and the equation for photosynthesis.
Next up: light wavelengths & illustration of orders of magnitude
Several teachers have taken their students to the wall to visit Josh at work and talk to him about the mural. He says that he loves talking to kids and hearing their perspectives: “I learn so much from them and what they see.” Josh will be here through the end of the month to finish the mural, and then will head home to Los Osos to work on other projects. Stop by and say hello!
Josh’s faithful companion, Beetle the dog
You can see more pictures on Josh’s Facebook page for this project.