Photographs and Story By Jason “Adjacent” Strickler
Somewhere approximately 25 miles away from Downtown Los Angeles’ arts district are some of the Latin-American community’s finest art pieces. From the historic socio-political scenes found in the hallways of CSUN Jerome Richfield Hall to the powerful images of the Cesar Chavez Memorial on San Fernando Blvd.
As a loyal 818 resident, I would like to pay homage to the businesses and artists who strived to beautify their city. After speaking to the businesses and members of the community I have compiled a list of the top 10 murals in the San Fernando Valley.
I am not an art critic nor am I attempting to evaluate the artists or denounce any artist that has been left out of this list. I simply love and appreciate art as a means of expression, and I would love to learn more about pieces that may be in your neighborhood. With that being said. Here are the Top 10 Murals in the SFV.
Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, Sylmar CA
The colorful scenery with a tree at its center manifests a city filled with music, art, love, and tacos on the back of Tia Chucha’s Cultural Center in Sylmar, CA. The mission of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural is to transform the community in the Northeast San Fernando Valley and beyond through ancestral knowledge, the arts, literacy and creative engagement. “The mural is an expression of the residents,” said Mayra, a store associate who has been a part of the cultural center for over 10 years. Before the mural was created, Tia Chuchas held meetings open to the local residents, to see what they would like on the wall of the bookstore that sits in a plaza on Gladstone Ave and Hubbard St. The mural design was led by two local artists Kristy Sandoval and Raw Azul Hernandez, and some details were painted by the youth of Sylmar and other artists such as Manny Velazquez and Violet Soto. Learn more about Tia Chucha’s HERE
Kobe Bryant at Collective Lifestyle, Northridge CA
Kobe Bryant smiles on the wall of Collective Lifestyle in Northridge CA. Collective started off in 2014 as a lifestyle blog with close to 30,000+ monthly visitors. The Collective Lifestyle store in Northridge was a place for providing fashion, music, art, and live events to the LA area. Their storefront has recently closed, but their legacy lives on as they still post actively on Instagram about relevant topics and merchandise. The Collective recently made promotional apparel for the 2018 CSUN Big Show that hosted ASAP Ferg and Dj Mustard. Follow the Collective on Instagram @collectivelifestylela
Zelzah Train Depot, Reseda Blvd, Northridge CA
This mural is painted on a Reseda Blvd corner and pays homage to the Zelzah Train Depot from the early 1900s. The brightly colored mural was painted by Timothy Cornelius, a landscape and children’s mural artist based in Los Angeles. This artwork was produced by The Museum of The San Fernando Valley and Northridge Sparkle in 2014.
30 Years of Chicano Studies Commemorative Mural and Chicano Studies Lounge, Jerome Richfield, CSUN
On the California State University, Northridge campus is a historical piece of artwork. In Jerome Richfield Hall, the building that houses CSUN’s Chicano Studies Department which was established in 1969 by Dr. Rudy Acuña, are two magnificent murals that pay tribute to indigenous roots and The Chicano Movement of the 1960s. To learn more about the Chicano Studies Department at CSUN click here.
Danny Trejo, Pacoima CA
The Danny Trejo mural in Pacoima is one of Levi Ponce’s many projects that can be found throughout the San Fernando Valley. Danny Trejo as a Latino figure has inspired many, through his role as Machete, and also as a Businessman. Trejo has a donut shop in Hollywood, as well as a Mexican Restaurant chain notably called: Trejos Tacos and Trejos Donuts. Link here.
Pacoima Art Revolution, Pacoima CA
Other murals by Levi Ponce and the community that can be found on Van Nuys Blvd in Pacoima, CA.
Recuerdos, Pacoima CA
I want to make a brief comment to speak about the businesses that these murals decorate. Local store owner Elizabeth and her son Francisco who own and operate the general store where this mural is located said that an emergence of art would not only be good for the community as a whole but especially be impactful for the teenagers that live in these communities. As a writer and a photographer, I couldn’t agree more with that notion. As I started this project I didn’t expect to see such an open mind to bring more arts into the neighborhood. After a significant amount of time, I became more and more invested in helping these businesses grow by providing the services I can, to help them meet their goals. If you want to learn how you can be involved with ASTRO Media Group and you live in the San Fernando Valley, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cesar Chavez Memorial, San Fernando CA
American Civil Rights Leader Cesar Chavez – Mural in San Fernando California The San Fernando Valley’s oldest city, San Fernando, was the first city in the United States to erect a memorial to the great civil rights leader Cesar E. Chavez. Located at the corner of Wolfskill and Truman Streets, the memorial was designed by San Fernando Valley artist Ignacio Gomez. (The Museum of San Fernando)
Lopez Barbershop, Roxford St and San Fernando Rd, Sylmar CA
On San Fernando Rd. and Roxford St. just past the railroad tracks sits a humble barber shop owned by Steven Lopez. The store, at first glance, is nothing more than an average barber shop, but once you enter the bright red doors into the establishment you can see the most hidden murals on our list. The artist’s reincarnation of San Fernando Mission, originally built in the 1800s, sits proudly above the waiting area, and on the wall adjacent to it is Del Fuego Customs’ free-hand masterpiece of the view directly in front of Lopez Barber Shop accompanied by well known image of the LA aqueduct cascade visible from the I-5 N going out of the SFV in to the SCV. Follow Del Fuego Customs and Lopez Barber Shop on Instagram.
Sylmar Square, Sylmar CA
The recently refurbished Sylmar Square, a shopping plaza on Foothill Blvd., is home to the Lisa Kelly mural that depicts a colorful tree and wildlife. On the side of USA Fitness’ auxiliary center, Kelly’s mural is a piece to admire. The detail in the animals and fine brush strokes on the leaves off the tree make this one of the most interesting pieces on the list. I particularly like the design as it starts on one side of the building and wraps around the corner and fills up the once bare wall of the fitness center. Lisa Kelly can be found here.
7/11 on Polk and Foothill, Sylmar CA Artist Unknown.