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Kevin Anderson is a muralist whose vibrantly colored ocean, tropical and local landmark paintings adorn buildings, fences, walls and homes all over San Diego County, as well as throughout California, Colorado, Hawaii and Mexico.
One excellent example of Kevin’s versatility is his Civita mural in Mission Valley. Completed in the summer of 2018, Anderson filled this 72-foot long tunnel with 25 interlocking scenes of the landmarks, lifestyle and people of San Diego County. This piece pulled together everything he’s painted in San Diego since his first local mural in 1991.
“This was the culmination of everything I’ve done on canvas,” Anderson said. “I took all of my favorite places and blended them all together under a common sky.”
On the west side are scenes of Coronado, downtown San Diego, Point Loma, SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Bay, La Jolla and Torrey Pines. On the east side are Julian, Palomar Mountain, Ramona, Potato Chip Rock, El Cajon, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the Borrego Desert. There’s also a tribute to San Diego Padres and Baseball’s Hall of Fame icon Tony Gwynn and a fly-by from the Blue Angels squadron.
Residents and developers are thrilled with the results, said Mark Radelow, vice president for land and retail development for Sudberry Properties, which commissioned the piece.
“People love it. I love it,” Radelow said. “You can’t walk away from it and say he missed anything. He captured San Diego County as good as anyone could possibly do.”
Anderson never set out to become a mural artist, but you could say it’s in his blood. His grandfather painted murals in New York and his daughter, 35-year-old Coral LakeyAnderson, spent many years painting scenery for Broadway shows in Manhattan.
Growing up in Solana Beach and Encinitas, Anderson said he found an early passion for drawing in kindergarten and took every art class available at San Dieguito High (now San Dieguito Academy). He went on to study art at Palomar College, then earned a four-year art degree at Long Beach State.
Painting was his passion, but he paid the bills in the early 1980s as an illustrator for local commercial art and advertising firms, making brochures and posters and designing pieces for books and magazines.
But when computers and design software came along, illustration work dried up. To support his wife of now 36 years, Jerelyn, and their daughter, he joined nine of his fellow Long Beach State art graduates to form a muralpainting crew in the late 1980s.
The crew worked mostly in Las Vegas, painting Renaissance-style Tuscan designs on the walls and ceilings of resorts like Caesar’s Palace and Harrah’s.
He also did residential work for celebrities including Eddie Van Halen and the late Merv Griffin. Meanwhile, Anderson built a steady business painting murals in Encinitas, Leucadia, Cardiff, Solana Beach, Carlsbad and Oceanside. His colorful depictions of the Self-Realization Fellowship, crashing waves and local coastal scenes can be spotted all over the county, always dated and signed by Anderson with a tiny star inside the loop of the A in last name. Photos of some of his many murals can be seen on his website.
Anderson said mural painting draws on all of the skills he’s acquired over the years, including illustration, anatomy, perspective, color and a thorough understanding of his subject and environment.
Anderson’s process for creating a mural starts with a concept and, as a trained illustrator like Norman Rockwell, he likes to work from photographs. Many of the people painted inside the tunnel are local residents.
Anderson doesn’t own a cellphone because when he’s working he needs both hands. Plus, his work always attracts a crowd and he much prefers face-to-face conversation.
While murals have provided a nice living, Anderson said he’s been itching for years to break out and create something really unique. He feels in his bones that the new painting style he’s gradually developing — a blend of realistic and abstract elements in looser strokes — could make his name in the art world.
Article: www.oceanmag.surf - June/July 2020 Issue
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A big Thank You to Robert Wald for the great article and for keeping this amazing local magazine's ongoing distribution alive since 2003!!