The recent discovery of a preparatory drawing of the actor for this iconic mural was recently discovered! Its restoration and display at a recent 2022 exhibition got quite a bit of attention. This info has been added to this blog post about the restoration of the mural, which occurred some time ago.
Today (back in 2011), I helped Kent Twitchell finish up a couple of murals he’s been working on/restoring by applying the final varnish: one is the Stother Martin Monument located at Kingsley Drive at Fountain Avenue in Hollywood and the other is the Steve McQueen located near NW corner of Union Avenue and 12th Street, just west of Downtown LA.
At the time of this blog post, Kent was doing the restorations with the assistance of the Fresco School (see Facebook). You can see his murals and read a quick blip at:
BTW, for those of you who don’t know, Kent Twitchell is the original artist of the murals. These murals were the beginning of mural painting in LA back in the 70’s. That makes them historic I guess. Historic or not, they are really great works of art and I love them and thankful that they are being preserved for another generation.
Add-on to this article: In 2019 I was rummaging through long forgotten boxes of stuff with Kent and pulled out a preparatory planning sketch Kent made from a live session and with collaboration with the actor while doing the Steve McQueen Mural Monument. It is so cool, I thought you’d enjoy seeing it.
You can’t catch the brilliance of the artist and the “coolness” of the sketch without enlarging it close up to see the “pixillation” Kent does to render his subject. Yet, from afar, it looks photographic. This sketch is 45″ tall x 24″ wide. Here’s another photo of the mural.
During 1971, early Los Angeles public artist Kent Twitchell painted his first realistic mural. He called it “Steve McQueen Monument” and pictures of it began appearing in newspapers everywhere, a two-story cool blue phantom coming out of a house a few blocks west (12th Street and Union Avenue) of Downtown Los Angeles.
The mural stood as a landmark for nearly 30 years, possibly the oldest extant LA Mural of the movement that influenced similar movements throughout the world. Then it was mysteriously painted out. Rumor was that a family from a different country had moved into the house. They did not speak English and did not realize its cultural importance to the City. Eight years later Graduate Art History major Fernando Cervantes, working on a paper about the art of Kent Twitchell, took it upon himself to go to the house and knock on the door. He discovered that yes, there were language issues but the new owners very much wanted the mural restored. Workers had painted it out by accident.
Twitchell decided this was the ideal time to restore his landmark monument, the 30th year after his favorite actor’s death. As he completed the restoration, he solicited the expertise and assistance of renown Los Angels art conservator, Scott M. Haskins to help him with an anti-graffiti coating to give maintenance efforts a chance at prolonging the live of the beloved mural.
Interested in knowing how to better protect public art and murals from graffiti? See the article I wrote on Street Art vs. Graffiti Vandals at http://bit.ly/qKySHP
Questions about mural conservation? Call Scott M. Haskins at 805 564 3438
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