Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
May 06th
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

 

Zines 2.0

How DIY culture—and the way we document it—is evolving

 

Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day—Venus is in Cancer (the protector), the sun is in Taurus (comforter). Mother’s Day (Sunday) this year with an Aquarius Moon, may be a bit unusual—Uranian, unexpected, unpredictable. My mother is no longer on the Earth to call upon, have dinner with, receive flowers or cards. I try remembering everything about her, what she attempted to teach us, her children. Often, I was unable to hear or understand her intentions. This saddens me. It’s important to remember the fourth Commandment to “Honor thy Mother and Father.” Many of us have forgotten this, along with the other nine commandments given to Moses for humanity’s direction at the beginning of the Aries Age. Positions and responsibilities in life change as we grow older. The mother/father become the ones who must be cared for and tended to in later years. On Mother’s Day, let us thank and honor our mothers, accepting the future when we will care for and assist them … our opportunity to nurture and love more. For those whose mothers have died, we say Ohm Mani Padme Hum, placing them in the jewel of the lotus. And if emotionally separated from the mother, we recite St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer. It helps re-establish right relations and goodwill with the mother. St. Francis of Assisi was Libra Sun, saint of right human relations. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, let me sow joy.” To all mothers (and fathers who are mothers), Happy Mother’s Day.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Life vs. Art

Women shine in backstage drama ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Soif Gets Soifier

Soif to begin serving bar food at Motiv while renovations are underway, plus a gathering at Gabriella Cafe

 

How do you maintain a balance between being informed and staying sane?

A little bit of looking on the Internet, a little bit of watching the Daily Show,  a whole lot of just getting outside and enjoying the world. Morgan Culp, Santa Cruz, Customer Support

 

Bonny Doon Vineyard

Crikey! Here comes another great wine from expert winemaker Randall Grahm—a Gravitas 2014 that will thrill your palate.

 

Ate3One

Foodies in the 831 will want to follow this food truck