Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Apr 16th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Making Waves

makingwavesjpgArtist Marvin Plummer captures iconic wave on Swift Street mural project

year ago, Marvin Plummer was gliding along the Pacific Ocean in a diving boat, snapping pictures of the waves, and one in particular caught his attention. It was what’s called the “middle peak” at Steamer’s Lane—a gargantuan wave known to the locals who surf there. Little did Plummer know that the famous wave would live on through his work as an artist and become a permanent fixture in our community

Fast forward to this summer when Plummer heard about a mural project that was going up on Swift Street, right near the railroad tracks. He turned in his submission along with a handful of other artists, and waited to see if he would get the gig. In July, Plummer learned he was the proud recipient of monies that would be given to him by way of a grant, and donations by Westside neighbors and businesses who support the makeover of what’s been a highly targeted graffiti location.

With paint cans galore, a roller brush in his hand, and a utility vehicle, Plummer set out at the beginning of August to beautify the Westside. His wide-stretching mural should be completed in early October.

What set him apart from the other artists, and made him the chosen muralist, was his mural mock-up of this “middle peak” wave photo that he had taken nearly a year ago. The deep, dark, imposing wave looks like it might crash right on you, as the viewpoint of the image seems like it’s from a surfer’s point of view. It’s a powerful image, one that represents the Westside significantly, and one that’s deserving of the mural space.

“I think Marvin’s [proposal] stood out,” says David Terrazas, a local resident who was on the submission panel for choosing the artist for this mural project. “We were looking for historical imagery … and Marvin’s [image] captures that, not only of the past, but moving forward.”

For Plummer, he admits that the panel took a risk on him—while he’s a longtime artist, particularly known and respected for his charcoal animal and human portraits, this is his first foray into murals, and into using paint on such a large canvas. He consulted several muralists on their style of transferring a small image to a large wall, but none of the techniques seemed to resonate with him, so he took his own approach, creating a loose grid on the wall, and using his photo as the inspiration. “I wanted to mimic a charcoal drawing,” Plummer says, “and I wanted to treat it like a painting of its own.”

When Plummer began to tackle the project, admittedly he recognized it as a problem to solve. The first four days of working on it he thought to himself, “how the hell am I going to do this?” he says. “I came across this amazing quote that said, ‘Go as far as you can and when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.’”

And that’s exactly what he’s been doing. The wall is about 128 feet long by 20 feet tall. It’s something of an intimidating task, but so far Plummer’s progress on the project is impressive. Take a look by driving down Mission Street toward Davenport. Turn left on Swift Street, and just as you cross over the railroad tracks, look to your left. There, you’ll see a stunning mural that does truly look more like a charcoal drawing than a painting. This is due in part not only to Plummer’s creative approach to art, but also to the paint he has chosen and its application. Using black and white paints, and a clear matte medium paint, it creates a quality of transparency on the mural. The difference between these two mediums, Plummer says, is “charcoal has instant gratification. Black to white and black to white, it’s that fast. … In paint … it’s a slower process. But, the permanence of being on the wall, and being outside is a really great thing.”

As his mural journey continues, each day Plummer sees progress, and so does the community. People stop by frequently to visit, comment, or just stare as the giant wave grows and grows. A homeless man stopped by one day to visit and show Plummer his own sketchbook. These moments show how art continues to transform and inspire people and this progressive Westside neighborhood.

“I think [public art] beautifies the city,” Plummer says. “It’s constructive as opposed to destructive. It gives artists opportunities, and it’s a form of communication, it’s not art hidden in someone’s house, in a hallway that you never see.”

Terrazas echoes his sentiment: “Public art shows the city’s personality and shows why this area is unique. … I’d love to have this be a place that’s recognized for our public art.” It looks like that’s just about to happen with “middle peak.”


For more information about Marvin Plummer, visit Marvinplummer.com . To contribute to the Swift Street Mural Project, visit any Bay Federal Credit Union and make your donation to member account No. 544023.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.

 

Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.