MuralsByPeter.com

The Gazebo
The Motel
Spearfish Canyon
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From "Pass It On" Art-History...
"The only thing Peter felt compelled to do, as always, was paint."

In the spring of 1998, Peter along with partner Michelle, decided that the local walls in Hollister might appreciate some color and local history. The two started with the two local hangouts, Johnny's Bar and The Whiskey Creek Saloon as well as the New Life Church. Both bars were considered the heart of the annual biker rally on the Fourth of July weekend, with the church centered between the two. The owners were enthusiastic about the concepts Peter presented. The work began simultaneously, with the three locations being only two blocks apart. Peter would work on each a few hours every day.

This was the article and mural that started it all the controversy in Hollister.

The first brush strokes of Marlon Brando's biker-clad image to go up, showed up on the front page of the local paper the very next day with the words "Artist brings past to life".
What followed that was a "mural moratorium" that lasted nearly six months. Apparently the city council got phone calls fearing a "proliferation of biker murals" and realizing they had no ordinances in place to regulate murals, set the ban to prevent any further painting.

LIFE magazine cover with 'staged' image of the wild night in Hollister that launched the movie "The Wild Ones" starring Marlon Brando. The movie and town said to have been the birth of the biker movement as well as the beginning of Brando's career.
Ironically, what started as a celebration of independence in honor of a town's local history on the Fourth of July, became a First Right Amendment struggle that had local and national papers buzzing with the controversy.



In addition to the ban, the city attorney sent a letter to Peter explaining that he would not be allowed to begin any new projects (though he was allowed to complete the first phase of the two murals and a church mural as had been previously approved), and that, technically he must have a state contractor's license to paint walls. This was a statement that probably sent the most shock waves through the art community nationwide. Headlines read "State Contractor's License to Paint Fine Art?!".
Artists were interviewed and many did not want their names published for fear that their mural freedoms would end. The testing, requirements and fees for the license would put many talented artists out of business. It was a case of misinterpretation of the intent of a law and the American Civil Liberties Union as well as the National Campaign for Freedom of Expression had much to say on the issue.

The Park Hill wall was a donation to the city and a gesture to help in end the mural ban on a friendlier note. The scene painted is what one sees at the top of Park Hill. Part of the wall appears to be large bricks adorned with roses and butterflies. This photo appeared in the newspaper two days before the ban officially ended.
As an attempt to make their point about public art and murals being a 'good thing', Michelle and Peter approached the city council with the offer of a donation. The downtown Park Hill wall was a blight in the small town, a patchwork of graffiti 'tagging' repeatedly painted over by city workers in several shades of gray paint. The two offered to paint a colorful mural as a contribution and also to help prove that murals are Graffiti-Friendly solutions. (It seems that most graffiti taggers consider themselves artists and have respect for another's art. But when their art has been painted over with a plain patch of paint, it once again becomes their target.) The council decided to accept the offer and allowed them to begin the wall two days before the mural ban officially ended in October 1998.

In addition, the second phase of both Johnny's Bar and The Whiskey Creek Saloon murals were finished and showed the very positive side of the biker phenomena. The Blessing of the bikes that is held annually as well as the food and toy drives to help the hungry and needy are both depicted complete with sweet baby dolls and tiny butterflies."
Pass It On 1998

Other Murals in Hollister