Travis Martinez, 27, in the back of the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum on May 21, 2023. Behind Martinez is a mural by scenic artist Donald “DJ Mac” MacDonald painted in 1996. “This mural represents Huntington,” Martinez said. “There is so much surf history here.” Credit: ERIKA TAYLOR, Voice of OC.
Murals hold meaning, especially within Orange County communities.
Whether these murals are depictions of long-lost icons like Kobe Bryant, or physical representations of culture or heritage like the ones cataloged by Mapping Arts OC, they stand as a representation of the community they reside in.
Orange County’s seaside cities have put their own spin on their community murals. Each brushstroke is a physical presentation of surf and beach culture, capturing the spirit of the community and the love of a common entity: the ocean.
Here is a look at some of Orange County’s coastal murals.
“The owners of the house allowed me to go there and express my creativity,” Jody Williams said. “They wanted people to see how incredible Seal Beach is.”
A mural by Jody Williams, 58, and her daughter Samantha Seguine, 17, on a house in Seal Beach, California, on May 16, 2023. “I want to be known as an artist that loves God and loves people. I want to invest in people’s lives,” Williams shared. All of the people in the mural are depictions of her family and children. Credit: ERIKA TAYLOR, Voice of OC.
On Main Street, another sea-themed mural can be seen, but on the front of a local business rather than a private residence.
The mural may be repainted in the future due to its age, according to Brett Barnes, Chairman of the Board for the museum. “People love the mural, and we want to do the right thing by them,” said Barnes.
“Public art is important because it gives culture to a city,” said Murphy. “I also believe that local artists need to paint the public work, as their view of the world was created by their surroundings. There is a distinct culture in Huntington, I grew up here and worked as a lifeguard, I surfed daily… I grew up here and still live here. I feel like I know the culture and the people here.”
Pacific Coast Highway motorists are greeted by the sight of a mural on the side of the Frog House they enter Newport Beach.
“I really feel that looking at a bland, blank wall is dreadful,” muralist Jim Heath said. “Murals have always been a way for any community to feel connected and related to the area. It seems that people of all backgrounds will appreciate the art and remember it for years.”
On the alley side of the Frog House, a slightly different mural can be seen. This particular mural was painted by local Andy Rousch, who died last year, according to the owner TK Brimer.
The mural is a pictorial of Newport Beach, “from the Wedge all the way to Huntington Beach,” TK said. The mural also contains Bible verses, “and lots of girls, since Andy liked girls.”
This in mind, murals are abundant throughout the city.
San Clemente is home to many murals that showcase the city’s rich history and love of the ocean.
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