By Lori Landino
There is a new mural going up in Seacliff on the wall in front of Sno-White Drive-In, across from Marianne’s Ice Cream. The idea of an ocean themed mural with the greeting ‘Welcome to Seacliff’ came from local residents Ben Strock and Cole Strickland. The esteemed artist chosen to create the mural is painter Amadeo Bachar.
“The mural came to fruition from a joint vision I share with Cole Strickland to see the community of Seacliff and the ‘Downtown Business District’ develop into a better maintained coastal beach destination,” said co-curator and businessman Ben Strock. “Cole and I have a goal of seven murals in the Downtown District, and this is the third of the murals that is coming to life. Our vision is that through the public art we have been organizing/sponsoring we can have a hand in transforming a long time dilapidated neighborhood commercial district that we love…”
The artist, Amadeo Bachar, is a California native who studied studio art at UCSB and Cabrillo prior to pursuing a degree in Marine Biology at UCSC. After obtaining his degree, he applied and was accepted to the prestigious UCSC Science Illustration Program. By 2008, Amadeo’s freelance illustration career took off – publishing work with National Geographic, Scientific American, US Geological Survey, the United Nations and the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
“I decided it might be cool to incorporate a very localized ecosystem of what you would find under and on the pilings of the pier leading out to it,” Bachar explained about the vision for the mural. “It’s not to often you see the local species represented, so that was my goal.”
Onlookers and passersby can watch Amadeo as he hand paints the wall with assistant Yvonne Beyers and his daughter Irma.
Cole and Ben asked for an ocean scene, so going into the mural are hand painted barred surf perch, pile perch, anchovies, bat ray, great white shark, cormorant, octopus, rockfish, striped bass, barnacles, anemones and maybe a harbor seal, peaking under the kelp.
Strickland’s family has owned the Forget Me Not boutique in Seacliff since 1977.
“After spending my entire life growing up and living in Seacliff, I wanted to develop a mural project that provided an incredible opportunity to showcase and educate people about the history and beauty of our beaches, wildlife, and Cement Ship,” Strickland said. “Our plan is to create a story with these murals through the eyes of local muralists that will be enjoyed for generations to come, bringing about an awareness that comes from their visual beauty…and protecting what we are all so fortunate to have in our community.”
The mural project is supported and funded from the Strock Family, Cole Strickland, Zach Friend, Community Foundation of Santa Cruz, Seacliff Business Partnership, and Santa Cruz County Parks and County Park Friends. Studio Abachar is located in Aptos.