Welcome Home Warriors Vietnam Veterans Mural Project

Welcome Home Warriors, Vietnam War Mural Project. Photos of artists Linda Shader and Echo Westover by Hime Romero, Manteca Bulletin.

Welcome Home Warriors Vietnam Veterans Mural Project

Yucca Valley Artists Awarded International Commission to Honor Vietnam Veterans

On true Larger Than Life Murals scale, Welcome Home Warriors is a huge public art mural honoring veterans and the fallen of the Vietnam War. Yucca Valley artists Linda Shrader and Echo Westover of Larger Than Life Murals were awarded the mural commission after an international call-for-artists by the Manteca Mural Society (MMS), Manteca, CA.

The mother-daughter team recently painted the 16 x 20 foot mural in their Yucca Valley studio, working for the first time on panels of a special fabric-like material called non-woven polyester.


The Painting of Welcome Home Warriors Mural


The Mural Design Phase

Westover took the reins on the original design concept. After months of research and design work, preliminary designs were submitted and reviewed by the mural committee. Public meetings were held to gather community feedback and veteran’s comments. Muralists were narrowed down to 3 finalists, whom then each hand painted a 16″ x 20″ scaled model of their design.

The MMS had a long list of specific content requested by the veterans. The mural includes, an M113 APC (armored personnel carrier), a Chinook and Medevac helicopter, an F-4 Phantom fighter jet, a representation of women in service, although they were not in the field, and a “War Dog” and handler, a bunker, and much more.

What they didn’t want, was something that looked like a collage, or a bunch of individual pictures in boxes. The artists were asked to make the mural look as much as possible like an actual scene from the war.

 

“They didn’t just want us to paint their mural, they wanted us to paint their story.” Linda Shrader

Progress of panels 2 and 3 of the Welcome Home Warriors Mural in the studio. Photo by LTLM.
Progress of panels 2 and 3 of the Welcome Home Warriors Mural in the artist’s studio. Photo by LTLM.

“It was a challenge finding great reference photos for all the content in the necessary angles to work in the composition,” notes Shrader. “We did have to improvise a lot in the design and painting phases to adjust light and shadows to reflect a consistent time of day, and to make everything full color, because so many war photos were shot in black and white or sepia tone.”

While many military photos are available free of charge in the Public Domain, some of the historical photos the artists chose required licensing, which can be quite costly. One image licensed for the mural through Getty Images, the large soldier stepping into the mural, was listed at almost $600.

A Chance Meeting With Tim Page, Iconic Vietnam War Photographer

While researching another photo the artists wanted to use, they thought they had tracked down the original photographer to request a license. The photograph turned out not to be his, but the inquiry had lead them to photojournalist Tim Page, an iconic Vietnam War Photographer, now living in Australia. The photojournalist in ‘Apocalypse Now’, played by Dennis Hopper was based on Page.

Page was happy to help the artists, taking the time to delve into his colossal archive of Vietnam War photos to search for their requests.

“He sent us dozens of images to choose from,” recounts Westover, “Amazing work, all of them. Five of which were perfect to license for the mural. We were very grateful.”

“We also learned through Tim,” adds Shrader, “That so many photographers also died or went missing in Vietnam, and those who returned were never really recognized or welcomed home, just like our military service veterans. I thought it was so apropos that several of Tim’s photos were used for this particular mural.”

For more about Tim Page, visit his website at http://www.timpage.com.au


The Mural Installation

A Seasoned Crew Installs The Mural In One Day

Installer and master muralist, Dave Gordon (pictured below), along with a seasoned all-volunteer crew lead by Ron Cruz, Project Supervisor and Vietnam Combat Veteran, met Shrader for the first time as she delivered the mural to be installed. Beginning at 6:30 AM and finishing just before sunset, the veteran’s mural was installed in one, long day.

Westover arrived a day later, and the artists had a couple of days to perform touch-ups on the mural before Gordon finished the installation phase with protective spray coatings.

The mural transfer, artist Linda Shrader hands over the mural to the installation crew.
L to R, Dave Gordon, Bill Barnhart, Gene Bedard, Linda Shrader, Fred Gallegos, Ron Cruz, Bill Buffington, Jack Dauler, and Roger LaPresle.

The Mural Was Viewed Whole For The First Time

As the lift and protective covering came down, stopping and starting to a loud beep, beep, beep… the mural was viewed whole for the first time. As Shrader stepped back to take it all in, she noticed several of the men from the crew taking photos with their cell phones.

“I got a big kick out of seeing the crew taking photos immediately after they finished,” mused Shrader. “I took it as a sign that they were proud of what we had accomplished.”

Crew Taking Photos After Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation. Photo by LTLM
Crew Taking Photos After Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation. Photo by LTLM

Video Slideshow of Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation

The Vietnam War mural is the fourth mural to be installed as part of a larger mural project which will total $125,000 and 5 murals when completed next year. The veterans and the fallen from World War l, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror will all be represented in the monumental project.


High-Speed Time-Lapse Video of Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation

Wall before Welcome Home Warriors mural installation.
Wall before Welcome Home Warriors mural installation.

Installed on the oldest and largest historical building in town, the murals grace the East-facing wall of Manteca Bedquarters located at the corner of W. Yosemite Ave and S. Main St, Manteca, CA.


The Mural Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony

Distinguished guests and over 500 people, including many veterans and families of the fallen, were in attendance for the May 20th, mural unveiling and dedication. Speakers delivered moving speeches, including some very emotional ones from Vietnam War veterans.

Over 500 gathered for the Welcome Home Warriors mural unveiling and dedication ceremony. Photo by LTLM.
Over 500 gathered for the Welcome Home Warriors mural unveiling and dedication ceremony.
Photo by LTLM

“We deeply respect you and thank you for your service. As an artist, this is the best way to show that.” Echo Westover


Video Slideshow of  Welcome Home Warriors Mural Unveiling and Dedication

The video features about 5 minutes of some highlights from the 1.5 hour ceremony. Charleen Carroll, MMS Board President, was a wonderful Master of Ceremonies.


A Special Tribute To The Fallen

 

Linda Shrader painting names and ages on tribute in Welcome Home Warriors Mural. Photo by LTLM
Linda Shrader painting names and ages on tribute in Welcome Home Warriors Mural. Photo by LTLM

A portrayal of the Vietnam Memorial Wall with tribute to the 17 fallen men from Manteca and the surrounding communities, is one of the main elements in, and inspiration for the mural. Each man’s name and age is listed, even though ages are not included on the official memorial wall. MMS made this request so that the general public might be more aware of just how young most of these men were when they served their country and paid the ultimate price.

“This is extremely important to me personally. My husband and my brother were together in Vietnam,” recalls Charleen Carroll, MMS Board President. “There were so many young men from here that served, and 17 that passed away. This is a chance to honor them and their service to their country.” Carroll’s brother, 18 year-old Brock Elliot, was the first serviceman from Manteca to give his life.


Help Is Available to Veterans Still Battling…

The Vietnam Veterans went to Washington D.C. and asked for help, and they got it. There are Vet Centers all over the United States.

“Please go. Go right away,” encourages Cruz. “They will welcome you with open arms and I guarantee they will help you. They will help your spouse and immediate family understand why you are the way you are.”

For more information or to locate your nearest Vet Center visit https://www.vetcenter.va.gov


An Original Work

Welcome Home Warriors Mural is an original work commissioned and owned by the Manteca Mural Society, Manteca CA.

Marking the community’s 30th mural adding to the diverse visual narrative of their rich history, more about Manteca murals, visit www.mantecamurals.com.

 

LION PRIDE Mural with LCMS Student Artists and Leaders

Finished Lion Pride Mural Group Shot.

Click here to read the feature article in the Hi-Desert Star

News Article, Hi-Desert Star newspaper. LION PRIDE Mural featured.
News Article, Hi-Desert Star newspaper. LION PRIDE Mural featured.
An Engaging Mural Project Makes An Imprint

The LION PRIDE Mural project between Larger Than Life Murals and La Contenta Middle School students is sure to make a lasting imprint for years to come. With it’s sheer size, bright colors, and striking design, it’s visible from almost anywhere on the campus, and even from eastbound Yucca Trail.

Finished Lion Pride Mural Group Shot.
Finished Lion Pride Mural Group Shot. 32′ x 18′, Acrylic on stucco. Photo by L. Shrader

Beyond the visual impact, the overall success and positive experience of the LION PRIDE mural project was made possible because of a community effort. LCMS students and staff, parents, volunteer artist assistants, family, and friends all contributed in one way or another.

The Lion Pride Mural was twice featured in The Hi-Desert Star newspaper which was greatly appreciated. And of course, without the support and approval by the MUSD Board, none of this would have happened.

"Linda

It all began when Jake Possehl, PBIS Director, reached out to Larger Than Life Murals (LTLM). Possehl had the idea of a LION PRIDE mural to help raise school pride to a whole new level, while encouraging student involvement as part of La Contenta’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Support program (PBIS).

LTLM artists Linda Shrader and Echo Westover knew this would be a great partnership project. “How many middle school students are greeted by a 15-foot-tall mountain lion stepping out of a wall in the middle of their campus everyday?” Shrader smiles, adding, “They love it, and the more we can strengthen the love + school equation, the better!”

Shrader speaks from experience. The mother daughter team of Shrader and Westover, Artist/Owners of Larger Than Life Murals, has painted over 60 murals in Southern California, and many of them on school campuses.

“The coolest part about public art murals is, they’re one of the most powerful and effective vehicles for delivering a message to students.” L. Shrader

“You can’t help but notice a larger than life mural, so of course it engages everyone on campus.” Shrader explains. “And most of us love wild animals, so that’s a WIN-WIN to start.”

Now factor in the power of hands on experience, and students reached over time… that all sums up to a REALLY powerful tool. Music also adds to the experience, hence, a classical piece was chosen for the soundtrack to the LION PRIDE Mural Time Lapse Video.

Students from LCMS Art Club, Leadership, and PBIS Student Leaders Participated

After much planning and preparation, about 20 students from three campus clubs, including LCMS Art Club, Leadership, and PBIS Student Leaders joined forces for the task.

Beginning Saturday morning,  Jan. 28th, the design was laid on the wall using various techniques. Students helped with placing patterns, snap lines, locating coordinates, and making and using a plumb line. Some freehand drawing was added by Westover.

Two scissor-lifts were used under the watchful eye of staff and parents. Far left, Principal Dr. Gruwell. Center photo, PBIS Director Jake Possehl. Photo by Lori Thomas

"Placing

Students Began Painting Sunday

Sunday, Jan. 29th was the big student paint day. About 30 students came and went throughout the weekend. Many participated both days, and some only Saturday or Sunday, as a result of sports and other commitments.

"LION

Shrader and Westover, assisted by volunteer artists, Aaron Hansen and Jose Fierros, continued working on and detailing the mural until finished Tuesday evening.

On Friday, Feb. 3rd, reporter Leah Sanson came out to get some more information about the PBIS program and to take some photos for the Hi-Desert Star newspaper. Participating students gathered to sign their finished mural and pose for a group shot.

Students sign LION PRIDE Mural
Students sign LION PRIDE Mural. Photo by L. Shrader
Larger Than Life Murals High Speed Time Lapse Video

Larger Than Life Murals video taped the LION PRIDE Mural painting process with their high speed time lapse camera.  Beginning with student paint on Sunday, the short video below is 3 days of mural painting and credits in under six minutes.

Click on any photo to open the LION PRIDE Mural Gallery view to see all the photos larger…

For more information about bringing a Larger Than Life Murals project to your school or organization, please contact us using our contact form or call Larger Than Life Murals at 760-413-2116.

These pages might also interest you:

See more Larger Than Life Murals in our Video Gallery

Discover Our Desert Mural at Onaga Elementary School

Paint Night Parties fundraiser events!

Larger Than Life Murals Launches Art Classes with Ladies Paint Night

Linda Shrader and Echo Westover with over 30 attendees at the end of their first Paint Night Parties evening.

Larger Than Life Murals launched the first of their art classes this past week, starting with a Ladies Paint Night, to a group of over 30 women, and it seems a good time was had by all.

Larger Than Life Murals Paint Night Video
Larger Than Life Murals Paint Night Video

“Such a great night,” says attendee Jessica Gibbs, “They (the whole Larger Than Life Murals team) were amazing… Lots of laughs, smiles, and learning. Can’t wait for the next one!”

“I’m really happy the night went so well,” admits artist Linda Shrader, “This was our first class, and I wasn’t quite sure how well our approach would be received, especially by the ladies who had attended paint nights with other artists.” Shrader had hoped she and Westover could deliver a good balance of having fun, with learning some real painting techniques the ladies could use in the future.

Artist/Instructor Echo Westover demonstrates for the class
Artist/Instructor Echo Westover demonstrates for the class

In addition to oral instructions and a live demonstration, Shrader and Westover also walked around the room offering tips, assistance, and encouragement.

Shrader offers some cloud  assistance to Alisha Bryant
Shrader offers some cloud assistance to Alisha Bryant

“I’ve been to two other paint nights with another gal. Linda and Echo’s class was 100 times better,” comments Colleen Wortham. “All of them were so very, very wonderful. I can not wait for the next class!!”

In addition to the mother-daughter artist team, Linda’s 3 other daughters were also present; Photographer, Piper Robison, shot stills and a video of the class, while Shrader’s youngest daughters, Starlin and Blaze, also shot some photos and assisted with refilling paint plates.

Nicole Cody, Stephanie Will  work on their paintings during Larger Than Life Murals- Ladies Paint Night.
Nicole Cody, Stephanie Will work on their paintings during Larger Than Life Murals- Ladies Paint Night.

Raquel Villegas drove to Yucca Valley for the Ladies Paint Night, all the way from Orange County, and was glad she did. “I couldn’t believe how easy and fun it was to paint my own masterpiece!” 

Chelsea West shows off her finished painting
Chelsea West shows off her finished painting

Larger Than Life Murals will be adding more paint classes and workshops to their website, as well as some fun requested craft projects.

For more information about Larger Than Life Murals or to schedule your own Paint Night Class,  visit www.largerthanlifemurals.com

Most Recent Murals – May 2014

Most Recent Murals

May 2014. For the most current information visit www.largerthanlifemurals.com

Our Most Recent Murals Were at Yucca Family Medical Care.

1. Desert Sky- painted in a main hallway.

Desert Sky Mural 2014
Desert Sky Mural 2014

 

2. The Wildlife Mural, wraps around 4 walls of the children’s patient room. 

Wall #1- The Roadrunner

Wildlife Mural, Roadrunner
Wildlife Mural, Roadrunner

Wall #2- The Coyote

The coyote in the wildlife panoramic mural.
The coyote in the wildlife panoramic mural. He’s over 5′ tall.

Wall#3- Mountains

Wall #4- The Cottontail

Wildlife Mural, Cottontail
Wildlife Mural, Cottontail

3. The Hummingbird Mural- for the women’s health patient room.

Larger Than Life Murals- Hummingbird Mural.
Larger Than Life Murals- Hummingbird Mural.
Close-up of the Hummingbird Mural
Close-up of the Hummingbird Mural
Echo painting the flowers on the Hummingbird Mural.
Echo painting the flowers on the Hummingbird Mural.

4. The Bighorn Sheep Mural

The Bighorn Sheep Mural.
The Bighorn Sheep Mural.
Bighorn Sheep mural close-up
Bighorn Sheep mural close-up
Bighorn Sheep mural close-up
Bighorn Sheep mural close-up
Bighorn Sheep mural close-up
Bighorn Sheep mural close-up

 

Welcome to Joshua Tree Mural

Welcome to Joshua Tree Mural Ribbon Cutting

Welcome to Joshua Tree Mural

Welcome to Joshua Tree Mural is a community mural in Joshua Tree, CA. The 21′ x 9′, mural was painted in acrylic on stucco.

Sponsored by many local businesses in the Village of Joshua Tree, and painted by Echo Westover and Linda Shrader of Larger Than Life Murals. It’s on the East-facing wall of Natural Sisters Cafe on Hwy. 62., a gracious contribution from building  owner, Linda Perry.

Designed by Echo Westover, the jack rabbit on the right, also painted by Echo Westover, is a Larger Than Life version of Marcia Geiger’s original small painting “Surprise Jack,” which was recreated in the mural with her permission. You can see her reaction to seeing it finished in the video below.

We had a lot of fun painting this mural, and because of the family-friendly atmosphere in Joshua Tree, Echo and I were assisted by my other 3 daughters: Piper Robison, Starlin and Blaze Shrader. And by my sister, Jody Person. We were also honored by the assistance of the famous Aaron Hansen on the lettering.

Special thanks to Frederick Fulmer of Joshua Tree Art Gallery (JTAG) for coordinating this whole community project!