Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Apr 01st
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

 

Critical Mask

Comics remain both relevant and marginalized  

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Ella’s at the Airport

Tiffany Ella King on her new fine dining restaurant in Watsonville

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines