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!

Artists Team-Up Painting Venus De Fido Dome

Artists Team Up Painting Venus De Fido Dome In Palm Desert, CA

As construction on a new 5-star spa for pets and their people nears completion, a team of artists are busy at work on the Venus De Fido dome in the interior of the beautiful Spa. The dome murals are the first of many works of art that will grace it’s ceilings, walls, and niches.

Progress on Venus De Fido Dome
Artists L to R- Linda Shrader, Bruce Hamilton, Cory Hamilton, Echo Westover
Venus De Fido Rendering
Venus De Fido Rendering

The dome is 20′ in diameter, with 8 sections separated by faux-painted marble columns created by Cory Hamilton, of Hamilton Builders. Hamilton had the concept of bringing together a team of local artists/muralists, coordinating with each other, yet each individually painting a section of the dome.

The first two panels were designed and painted by Cory Hamilton and Bruce Hamilton respectively. Larger Than Life Murals artists Echo Westover and Linda Shrader are the two most recent artists to complete their sections of the dome.


Goddess Artemis and Her Hunting Dog By Echo Westover
Finished Goddess Artemis, Painted by Echo Westover
Finished Goddess Artemis, designed and painted by Echo Westover, Larger Than Life Murals

Echo drew her inspiration from Artemis, the Goddess of Hunt and the Moon. “She is usually pictured with a hunting dog, so I thought it was rather fitting for the Venus De Fido dome mural,” explains Echo. “My dog Clever, which is a German Short Haired Pointer, serves nicely as her loyal hunting dog.”


All Dogs Go To Heaven by Linda Shrader
L-VDF-Dome-Panel-Finished-w
All Dogs Go To Heaven designed and painted by Linda Shrader, Larger Than Life Murals

The reference for the angel in Shrader’s All Dogs Go To Heaven, was the painting An Angel and a Devil Fighting for the Soul of a Child by Giacinto Gimignani. Cassie, a three-legged rescue dog owned by Lindi Biggi, President of Loving All Animals, is represented in this mural as the angel dog.

“I really do believe all dogs go to heaven,” comments Shrader, “I was thrilled when my design was accepted and I was able to visually illustrate this belief in my contribution to the Venus De Fido dome.”

To see more visit our Larger Than Life Murals Gallery.

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

 

If Graffiti Happens…

If Graffiti Happens

If Graffiti Happens… call Larger Than Life Murals to restore your mural 760-413-2116

It’s one of the biggest fears of public art councils, city officials, school boards, business owners… to spend hard earned money on a beautiful mural, only to have it destroyed with graffiti. Truthfully, very few murals actually get graffitied, compared to the number that are out there. So take breath and relax a bit.

For example, in the 12 years we’ve been painting murals, only one we’re aware of has been graffitied. Maybe we’ve been fortunate, but our experience shows us that most communities, including schools, take great pride in their murals. Even most “street artists” show respect and don’t touch the murals.

A disgruntled 8th grader graffitied this middle school mural:

Mural Graffiti
This is just a small area of a 30′ x 15′ mural that was graffitied by an 8th grader

To make matters worse, he used heat-resistant engine paint, leaving the empty cans behind. This mural is 30’ x 15’ and he sprayed as much as he could reach from the ground. We’re only showing a portion here, to avoid displaying profanities that were also sprayed on the wall. The school principal was horrified… school was starting in a week, AND the district school board was coming for a tour of the newly remodeled school, complete with the new mural they were excited to see in person.

Like all Larger Than Life Murals, this mural was painted with Nova Color artist grade mural paint, and this mural was NOT coated with anything afterwards. At that time, we were not 100% confident with any particular mural coating, and trusted the highest UV rated Nova Color paints we used, to hold up. Which they do, and most of our murals are in the high and low deserts of So. Cal., with intense sun and often blowing sand.

After extensive research, we found what we believe is the very best graffiti remover. In fact, it’s the World’s Best Graffiti Remover, by Urban Restoration Group. The testimonials on their website at http://www.graffitiremovalinc.com are quite impressive. Quite a claim. We believe it.

We called Urban Restoration Group and followed up with a visit to their LA office. Adam Kopcho, Director US Operations, was very helpful and informative. We purchased their Sensitive Surface remover, which is designed to use on painted surfaces. Applying the remover as directed, wiping it off with a damp cloth, repeating as necessary, the spray paint came off very easily and removed very little mural paint in only the toughest areas.

Using Sensitive Surface graffiti remover by Urban Restoration Group
Using Sensitive Surface graffiti remover by Urban Restoration Group

From a distance, the mural would have looked fine without touch-ups to the artwork, but we did touch it up, knowing it would be scrutinized up close by the touring school board, we wanted it to look it’s best!

This is how the mural looked when we were done.

The restored mural!
The restored mural!

In addition, Adam gave us a sample pack of various World’s Best Graffiti remover products, which we really appreciated. As a gesture of gratitude to the school district for their repeated business, we gave them some of the Bare Brick remover, designed to use on unpainted surfaces like block or concrete walls, because we noticed some “tagging” graffiti on some sidewalks in front of the school. The school maintenance staff was thrilled, and later said they couldn’t believe how wonderfully it worked, and stressed the time and money they saved using the Bare Brick Graffiti Remover.

So… If Graffiti Happens, call Larger Than Life Murals to repair, restore, and protect your mural 760-413-2116, www.largerthanlifemurals.com

Or visit Urban Restoration Group at www.graffitiremovalinc.com to learn more and do it yourself.

Disclaimer- Larger Than Life Murals is not associated in anyway with Urban Restoration Group, nor is Larger Than Life Murals compensated by them any way. We are simply sharing our experience for the greater good of public art everywhere. Claims are based on our experience. Results may vary. Please use all products as directed by the manufacturer.

“Humming Bird Mural” 2014

Hummingbird Mural

 The Hummingbird Mural is approx. 6′ x 4.5′, Acrylic on interior wall.  Commissioned by Yucca Family Medical Care, Yucca Valley, CA.

Here’s the story of this mural… The Office Manager, Jenifer,  who commissioned us to paint several murals, had already adorned many of their halls and patient rooms with beautiful art and large framed desert photography. She wanted something more… she really wanted their office to aesthetically have the “wow” factor. Echo and I jumped at the chance to aim high and “wow” her! The staff loves desert landscapes, plants, and animals, so subject matter is plentiful, we just needed some great designs and photo references.

I set out on a mission in the Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) to take some fresh photos with Starlin and Blaze. But it was mid-May, and the wildflowers were scarce. Remembering the garden at the Hi Desert Water District office, we headed across town and got there just before the sun  went down, and indeed, there was a variety of plants still blooming. Just as I was about to snap a shot of this purple flower, a hummingbird buzzed right into the frame! It darted around a bit, pausing as if posing, letting me get several shots, and then was gone again. How cool was that!?

So here is the design we presented with my original photograph:

Humming bird design

 

The room was painted this beautiful green after our presentation, we we adjusted the colors of the mural to work with the room.

Here is the finished painted mural:

Larger Than Life Murals- Hummingbird Mural.

 

“Larger Than Life Murals exceeded our expectations from beginning to completion. Professional and dependable, Linda and Echo went above and beyond to complete 4 murals within a very tight schedule. We love our murals, and confidently recommend Larger Than Life Murals.”

Jenifer Batin, Office Manager, Yucca Family Medical Care 2014

 

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.

 

I also shot a time-lapse video of this mural painting, so I’ll get that up asap!

We welcome your comments or questions 🙂