Housing / Land Use

Hollister once again becomes a canvas for artists

New mural taking shape just north of downtown

Public art is a marker of cultural consciousness in a city – it means more than just some romantic scene on a junked-up old utility box. Rather, it is a representation of collaboration between artists, community leaders and the viewer.

Surely,you’ve seen the fabulous work done in downtown Hollister as part of the 2014 Utility Box Mural Project (which gained some minor fame with Tweets between actor Esai Morales and project manager Rolan Resendiz), and now you can watch Hollister become a canvas again.

On Friday, Dec. 18, artists Phillip Ray and Joel Esqueda began prepping the wall on San Benito Street just north of Hill Street, you know, where the Kentucky Fried Chicken burned down years ago and the fallout-looking “USED CARS” sign hangs by its last thread.

“Imagine that old sign falling apart with wires and sparks coming from it,” says Resendiz.  “The bricks start to crack and fall apart as well, revealing a beautiful, interactive multi-dimensional… well, you’ll just have to wait and see.”

Since the newest proposal for public art displays was rejected by the City of Hollister and the organizers were left out of the granting process, the artists have begun to work with private owners. This provides “more freedom for the artist,” Resendiz says. “Less red tape.”

Public artwork has proven to be the most effective way of deterring graffiti or vandalism, often times territory markers will leave public art displays alone, and the muralists have tools to make any vandalism easy to clean up. Murals and public art also have a way of brightening up a city’s image: “We do it because we love our community and we love art,” says artist Joel Esqueda.


Rachelle Escamilla

Rachelle Escamilla is the host of "Out of Our Minds" on KKUP, author of "Imaginary Animal" and a columnist for Mission Village Voice.