Santa Maria City Hall, Santa Maria, California
Digital painting of Santa Maria by Enrique (Ricky)Nuñez
Santa Maria: Past, Present, and Future by Ricky Nuñez

Making the Mural

Mapping in the first lines.

Kym Cochran of The Environment Makers led the project to create a 16-panel mural for Santa Maria City Hall at the George S. Hobbs Civic Center. It was funded by the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department

She asked artist Enrique (Ricky) Nuñez if he’d be interested in creating the image under her guidance. Ricky’s fluid style fits the aesthetic. Using digital format, he painted a rich, undulating California landscape, horse riders, oil wells, wine barrels, tri-tip on the BBQ, baskets of strawberries, and the ultra-modern farming drones that Santa Maria has been pioneering. 

The mural was supposed to be painted directly onto a wall at the complex. There are plans to renovate City Hall, and instead, they asked us to make it on removable panels. 

The Housing Authority of Santa Barbara kindly gave us a place to work on State Street in Santa Barbara. In our new workspace, we prepped and primed 16 marine-grade pieces of 4’x 8′ plywood, then sectioned Ricky’s image into 16 parts and projection-mapped them onto the panels. Using Disney-grade materials, we began to paint. 

Working on the final panel.

We brought several partially finished panels to the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center in Santa Maria to involve local teenagers. After teaching them rudimentary color theory and projection-mapping, we had them help with the painting.  

The State Street building we were in was being transformed into rent-controlled apartments. Day by day, construction got closer and closer. At that point, Investec, a local real estate company, offered us another place to work right around the corner. We are indebted to The Housing Authority of Santa Barbara and Investec for making this project happen.

Though painting the individual panels was time-consuming, we finally completed them all, and the day arrived to move them north. Once they were in place, we made the finishing touches from a boom lift.

Final touch ups.

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