- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Priceless--if it's a mural of a realistic monarch butterfly, teasing you with a strip of masking tape, a chunk of a child's lined notebook paper, and a stack of rich, textured heritage bricks.
Every time we see artist Myron Stephens' mural at 238 G St. downtown, Davis, Calif., it reminds us of the dwindling population of the magnificent monarchs, captured in a painting that's literally off the wall.
Off the wall in a good way. This amazing mural makes you think. You stand on the curb, seeing the KetMoRee Thai Restaurant sign, but not really seeing it. You're too engrossed in the wall mural. You move closer, closer, closer. You're a photographer zooming in on a subject, and then the monarch is all you see. It captures your attention, just like the photographer captures an image of a butterfly in flight.
It's a mural with a message. You just have to figure out what the message is, which is what the artist wants you to do. He's toying with your memories, provoking your thoughts, gifting you with his art. Then you read the title, "Hidden Treasures."
A treasure, to be sure. Hidden, not so much.
Stephens describes himself on his website as "an artist who appreciates life and the gifts that he has been given. His work reveals this appreciation as an extension of himself, an unfolding of his experiences, and an opportunity to share his enjoyment of life with the viewer."
“The method of creating each painting is just as important, if not more, than the subject," he says, this time in first person. "My work is not conceived and then simply painted, but it is more of a process. It is a dialog of past, present, and future. Conversations with my wife and friends often show up in my work, along with nostalgic American iconography, and contemporary imagery often painted from photographs I've taken along the way.”
The mural is part of the Davis Transmedia Walk, described by its city officials as the first of its kind in the country. It's comprised of more than 40 public sculptures and murals throughout the downtown arts-and-entertainment district.
And all the art is within walking distance.
But when you get to 238 G St., you don't want to walk.
You want to fly--just like the butterfly.