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Salinas
July 12, 2024

Murals unveiled

GREENFIELD — Two new murals of a friendly bear and guitars grace the walls at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. Funded through the local PTA, the murals were created by Paul J. Gonzalez of San Jose, Calif., who had worked with School Principal Paddy Douglas while she was teaching in San Jose a few years ago.

The idea for the “Golden Bear” mural came about through ideas passed between Gonzalez and the school throughout the year. Pencil sketches were made, digital sketches were created and then the final idea came.

“I wanted this bear to be this big idea that kids look at,” Gonzalez said. “To be this soft, approachable bear. I try to make my animals for schools have a connection.”

The result was a bear with a paw that had a heart in it. Gonzalez said it would be really cool to see a student taking a photo high-fiving the bear to inspire creativity and a fun place to learn.

The murals took approximately three days to complete with two people, Gonzalez and his assistant Chris Carrillo.

“The way we approach it is different from others,” Gonzalez said. “We go about it in graphic style. This allows us to keep a nice, clean, sharp shape in bold colors.”

The technique is similar to a coloring book according to Gonzalez. Each mural consists of two to three coats of paint with exceptions where four coats are included. Gonzalez says the multiple layers makes the mural brighter and also makes it last longer.

“We’re trying to think of classic focuses on with the mascot or something that is taught in the school or color beautification,” Gonzalez said. “That will really transform the school’s environment. Ten or 15 years from now, we can always add to those shapes and fill in those colors.”

With each mural that Gonzalez creates he is also trying to convey an emotion. In the case of the Cesar Chavez bear mascot, Gonzalez shaped the face more to give it an expression.

The bear and guitar murals are not the first murals that Gonzalez and Carrillo have worked on for the school. The Cesar Chavez mural that can be seen from off campus as well as flower murals were also created by them. Paul J. Gonzalez Art Studios has created over 145 murals at schools and businesses from Sacramento to Greenfield.

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