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Starfish Mural Utility Box


Back in 2012, when we were living in LA, I made an art piece inspired by the beautiful starfish of the Pacific Ocean. July 4, we drove to Point Dume, my favorite beach in Malibu. The fog was thinly scattered and hanging low, the white sand cool and soft, and the tide was out – exposing all the starfish and sea anemones. I photographed several of them before the waters came rushing back in and the sun burned off all the fog.

I have always loved Pacific Ocean sea life – even with its cold temps, there are so many rich and loud colors. And I have always wanted to paint them much larger, covering something like they would if several dozen were clung to a rock in the water. Redwood City had another call for artists to paint utility boxes – so I applied…and I submitted my starfish. When I was approved, I decided I wanted new starfish to paint from. Ginny, Phil, and I all went to the tide pools in Half Moon Bay scouting for inspiration. The beach was very crowded and the tide was very low, but we were all surprised to find a lack of starfish (and other sea critters). Phil told me a big die-off of starfish happened in 2013; starting from the northern tip of Alaska all the way down to Baha, California. Research indicates a virus is what caused the plague, but scientists still do not know what triggered the virus.

Interestingly enough, the location of my new box, which was determined by the city, is on the former site of Marine World – now Oracle. Very fitting for these beauties! I had all the perfect colors already on hand. I spent four days from start to finish and had cooler weather to work in.

It was a nice experience working on this project. I met a lot of really nice people who were shuffling to and from on the campus. I hope to use this opportunity to work with Oracle again in the future and help add art to their very large campus. I have many more ideas inspired by my love for the ocean…



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