The tools are few—paint, a brush, a blank wall, and an idea. Yet it is the artistry of working up close, while maintaining the integrity of the larger picture, that makes murals so fascinating. These transformed walls are portals that can take viewers to another place, another thought process, another view on life. It is through these modern tapestries that San Jose culture is expressed and defined, inviting viewers to pause to reflect on who makes up society and what the ideals of this society are. The following are only a few of the many wonderful murals throughout San Jose.
Anno Domini Mural Collage
Anno Domini, 366 S 1st St, San Jose
When Anno Domini moved to the SoFA District, they wanted people to be able to find them quickly and to give those unfamiliar with the gallery a hint as to what could be found inside. This collage of international artists’ murals signals to those entering South First Street that this is where they’ll encounter one of the highest concentrations of arts and culture spaces in the city.
Produced by Anno Domini (2005–2013)
Artists (from left to right): Carolyn Ryder Cooley (New York) & Lena Wolff (California); Daniel Jesse Lewis (California); Jessie Rose Vala (New Mexico); David Choe (California); Bruno 9Li (Brazil); Klone (Israel); Adrian Lee (California); Know Hope (Israel)
Fountain Alley Mural: Phylum of the Free
Lido Night Club, 30 S 1st St, San Jose
This piece speaks to the idea of learning to cohabit as technology progresses and to the determination that it takes to exist and push forward.
Artist: Jeffrey Hemming (San Jose)
Nichi Bei Bussan, 140 Jackson St, San Jose
This urban, contemporary piece is left to the viewers’ interpretations. It allows different people to connect on different levels by going beyond just one story or theme, encouraging viewers to use their imaginations to open up numerous narratives and ideas.
Produced by Empire Seven Studios (2015)
Artist: NoseGo (Pennsylvania)
Chevron, 135 E Santa Clara St, San Jose
This mural is a tribute to John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s famous black power salute at the 1968 Olympics.
Artists: Paul Ulrich & Chris Duncan (California)
The Studio, 396 S 1st St, San Jose
This mural depicts the eclectic offerings of the SoFA area.
Artist: Samuel Rodriguez (California)
Tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Cafe Stritch, 374 S 1st St, San Jose
This three-story mural is a tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the late jazz legend who often played multiple instruments at once. When Rahsaan Kirk’s widow saw the mural for the first time, it brought her to tears.
Produced by Cafe Stritch (2014)
Artists: Roger Ourthiague & Chris Anway (California)
What You Are, I Once Was
Brazilian Blowout Bar, 489 S Market St, San Jose
This mural is an homage to California and a commentary on the current drought situation, with the hair representing water and the skull being scarcity.
Produced by The Exhibition District (2015)
Artist: Stephanie Azevedo (San Jose)
Santo Market, 245 E Taylor St, San Jose
John is a sign painter who specializes his fine artwork within a semi-impressionistic style, using an Italian Renaissance color palette. His subject matter includes surreal images of monsters and parodies of Old Masters paintings. This image is a parody of the iconic Japanese woodblock print “The Great Wave.”
Produced by Empire Seven Studios (2014)
Artist: John Barrick (San Jose)