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Murals on Hungry Investors TV show

I had the fantastic opportunity to design and create some hand painted decor for the makeover show Hungry Investors (on Spike TV) at a restaurant only 10 minutes away from my studio!  This magic little place is called Tamale Man in El Sereno.  I had 2 days to come up with designs and slap the paint on the walls, just as the freshly stained wood was drying.  I had the pleasure of working with another phenomenal crew on this one, as well as meeting the gracious family who owns the restaurant.

Portrait of the original Tamale Man

A tender moment with the family next to the portrait I painted of their patriarch.

This full episode of Hungry Investors (episode 103) can be viewed on Spike TV's website.

Murals for Kitchen Nightmares

This season I had the pleasure of creating murals for the craziest reality television makeover show- Kitchen Nightmares!!!  There is nothing else like working overnight on a show of this variety.  The clock is ticking from the minute you get the call.... until the last brush stroke on the wall- and you always wish you had just 5 more minutes.  But that is also what makes it such a blast!  The art department was so talented, fun and fast.  Here are some shots of the walls I designed & painted over the course of about 12 hours.
Probably about 2 in the morning...

And a few hours later, with some lovely assistance on wall #2! 

Cut to the big reveal: Owners get their first look at their new restaurant design

Chef Ramsay dubbed the walls "Amazing Pop Art. Quirky, colorful and cool" on air.  Well, I'm smitten.  Wall #1:

Wall #2:

and more wall #2:

One of the sweeping shots of the finished walls
at the end of the show.

The full double episode of Kitchen Nightmares (season 6 episodes 7&8- "Zayna Flaming Grill") can be viewed on Fox's website:

Lego Mania!

Recently I was asked to design and paint several Lego themed murals for a 7 year old boy's bedroom, and this is what happened...



In addition to the big feature wall, we did a couple of Lego figures around the room.  Imagine you are 7 years old and this is what you see when you look up from your bed.  RIGHT!?! This was his mom's idea. 

And, last but not least, a friendly Emmet to greet all who turn on the light!

 This is one lucky kid.  I am so glad I got the opportunity to create this cool world for him!

A Trip Through the African Safari

I recently had the opportunity to work with a lovely family to create a Safari themed mural in their young son's bedroom.  My Client and I both took pictures along the way, documenting the transformation of a regular bedroom into young explorer's dream world.

Here's a before pic.  We chose our base sky color to be the color of the whole room. 

First come the sky and ground.

....with some hints of grass rolling in.

Then mountains in the distance start to form.

Along comes a creepy spotless giraffe heading towards a flying stick.  Wait!?  No! This is not going as planned!  Will this poor giraffe ever find love, looking so pale and sad?

Hey, a tree!  Thank goodness, now this freakish giraffe atleast has something to eat.  But it looks like he caught some kind of rash on his neck.  It is always something, isn't it?

In an unusual twist of fate, this giraffe's rash turned into some truly designer spots on his beautiful new coat.  Know what this means? New found confidence! Self esteem!  But he is still so lonely, as the tree has not laughed at any of his jokes all day.

What?!  This giraffe finds sudden beauty, and now friends?! Good day to be a giraffe.  Living carefree in a beautiful landscape with a couple of elephant friends and a new designer coat....  Things are finally going his way! Thankfully that rash is gone.  It seems like his troubles are finally over. 

"Yes!" he thinks. A giant chocolate donut has materialized before his tired eyes... but there is something different about this donut.  It seems like maybe it has... a..... tail.

Okay, SHHH... everyone.... we are just going to back away as quickly as possible...

Well, that didn't work.  That just made the grass grow!  Perhaps if we just sign a social contract that we won't eat each other it will all work out.  What do lions eat, anyway?  I think I heard that they prefer zebras.


So, here is the finished mural.  My Client's 2 year old boy, whose room this is, was so cute and not scared in the least.  He walked right up and hugged the lion.  I think he will make a fearless traveler into the imagination and beyond!  Thanks to Nancy and her sweet family for welcoming me into their home so graciously!!

Hand Painted Signs for Miles

Have you noticed that more and more companies are going for hand painted signs for their businesses these days?  They are popping up in unexpected places all around us, especially here in Los Angeles. From storefronts to hand painted awnings to 15 story painted billboard ads... there is a type of business that wants to reflect a certain type of craftsmanship and attention to detail that a hand painted sign offers to their customers.  I feel this is a really positive shift, (I may have a horse in the race...) as it seeks to balance out the numbing saturation, scale and overall repetition of glossy mass produced advertising images our eyes see in a given day.  It suggests that one slows down for a moment and take notice of the details around us.  But why?  Because a person (a crazy person?) took the time to dip a paintbrush into a bunch of different colors to create a brief experience, a suggestion, a feeling out of nothing?  Yes.  That's why.

I have had the pleasure to work with an interesting variety of Clients to develop, design and hand paint signs for their businesses.  It truly is one of my favorite things to do in the world!  I have had a chance to work on signs for so many lovely folks over the past few months.  I thought I would post a sampling of my favorites...

 Design-wise I have worked in two capacities.  Some of my clients have a logo design and simply need the skilled hand of a sign painter to paint it with some minor design solutions or color accents.  Other times I get to really dig in and get super creative from start to finish with my own designs, lettering choices, custom-cut shapes, color palettes, etc.

Sometimes it's a textured wall...

 ... a perfectly smooth one...

... or a custom cut substrate. 


A hand painted sign shows evidence of hours of time, skill and concentration, and because of that conveys a certain type of warmth.  While it certainly is not the fastest method, it is a symbol that even in this busy world some things are still best made by hand. 

B-ballin' Off The Walls in Bel Air

I just wrapped up a pretty exciting and big project for some fantastic new Clients!

I was asked to design and paint the inside of a basketball arena, specifically
the Los Angeles Clippers' home court, to serve as backdrop to a backboard
that was to be mounted in a little boy's bedroom. Pretty much a young boy's fantasy 
bedroom. The family requested to have portraits of several of the immediate and extended family members in the front row, too.  

I was totally excited by the task at hand.  I took some photos along the way to show some of the transformation!

Before pic, with a swatch of the red that was being tested out for the other walls.

Day one, I hit the ground running with background blues.

Abstract people, the arc of the arena and a little of the layout starts to permeate the surface.

The Clippers "backboard thingy".  Yes, ok, I still don't know the name of this piece of equipment that holds the backboard up even though I googled different word combos for atleast 2 hours looking for a view from the free throw line on the Clippers home court.  Apparently they don't let photographers run all over the court, like I was hoping!? Sometimes you must let your imagination fill in the gaps.  But it got the nod of approval from my Clients, who, did I mention were:

None other than Jada and Chris Paul from the Clippers!  That's CP3, man!?!?  Check out the shoes he's sportin' here!  Won't see those on shelves for a few more weeks, people.  You saw it here.
It's not everyday L Star Murals has breaking news on the latest shoes!

Back to the progress shots:  I had several days of floating heads, glowing eyes 
and dismembered body parts before this crowd started to come together.  I found that after days of only painting faces, I was creating identities for these little people, and laughing about it in my head. "Stern abuela on her night off from the grandbabies" "Attention-seeker who's just trying to get on tv- oh wait- that's me in college! Ha ha!"

I worked under a plastic sheet for a little while the rest of the walls were getting mudded.
It was a pretty funny set-up.  Well, atleast it is funny now. ;)

 Jada and Chris has this awesome regulation NBA flooring installed, so their son little Chris can really play ball in his room.  I wanted to continue the flooring into the mural, so did my best to match the wood grains where they met.

 I painted big b-ball fan Jay Z in the front row for fun!  
Then I found out that Chris is friends with him. 
Totally normal. Totally chill. (FYI, I travel.)

 Finished view of the mural!  11 days of painting to complete.

 Detail from the left side of the crowd with Chris, Jada, and their little cutie-pie Camryn.

 Detail from the right side with both sets of grandparents, Jay Z and a somewhat Sheryl-Crow-looking-Beyonce.  Again with the sneaks... check 'em out on the 2 granddads!

Well, what can I say?  I really feel like I got really lucky on this one.  Jada and Chris were so easy to work with, not to mention incredibly kind, supportive and patient while I basically camped out at their place for 2 weeks!  And I'd do it again in a heartbeat!  Hope the scouts get word of little Chris on the court!  And hi Jay Z and Beyonce! Hee hee!