The piece is titled “Man, Myth & Magic” by LA-based artist Steven Hull, and is a welcomed spot of vibrancy as a counterpoint to the opaque wall it adorns, as well as the “June gloom” that has lingered above and around the piece.
“Man, Myth & Magic” is displayed at 7509 Girard Ave., adjacent to the facade of Quality Dry Cleaners.
While Hull is proud of the work, and grateful to be exhibited, “Man, Myth & Magic” was simply one of many drawings that he provided to the managing board of Murals of La Jolla.
His other submissions, typical of the artist’s collective work itself, were, as he puts it, “too political.”
“I am by no means dismayed that they chose the mural they did, but it is not one that I would have chosen,” said Hull. “I created some original drawings for the mural, but, in the end, they went with something generic.”
This kind of honesty is not surprising coming from Hull, whose artwork often challenges difficult societal conundrums like race, financial inequality, or oppression. When choosing a neighborhood mural to “fit in” with the rest of the Athenaeum’s Mural project, it makes sense that “Man, Myth & Magic” was chosen.
The painting, a vibrant mix of blues, light reds, and greens has no direct or inferred political agenda. Reminiscent of the emotion evoked attending a circus or fair as a child, “Man, Myth & Magic” is indefinitely easy to take in. While it differs vastly from Hull’s typical work, he is not so stubborn as to ignore the desire of the mural board.
“They want something that fits into the context of the rest of the project,” said Hull. “Now, they are talking about painting a colorful crosshatch pattern on the laundromat, which I think would be really cool. In the end, I feel as though this is a great collaboration between community, artist, and the people who are actually paying for it.”
The process for “Man, Myth & Magic” was not as artist-involved as it may seem, however. Hull simply provided those in charge with several drawings, of which they obviously chose the one currently displayed. It was then blown up, and put onto the mural, much like a billboard.
“I would have preferred to paint my own mural,” said Hull. “Basically, they scanned my drawing, blew it up, and stuck it on the side of the building.”
Regardless of how the mural got there, it certainly adds an antithesis to an otherwise color-homogenized zone.