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“Endangered Species” - Mural Restoration

The “Endangered Species” mural in Venice Beach was restored by ICU Art in late 2008. Located on Ocean Front Walk at Park Avenue, this mural was originally designed and painted by Emily Winters in 1990. After almost eighteen years of sun and salt air, a lot of vandalism, repeated powerwashes and several partial restorations, the mural had become faded and damaged.

The Venice Arts Council, working with a long list of sponsors, contracted ICU Art to completely restore the mural. Lead artists Asylm and Vyal worked with several assistants to completely repaint the entire mural from top to bottom in the original style of Emily Winters. Emily Winters helped with some of the final touches and worked closely with the ICU Art team to ensure the new mural looked as close to the original as possible.

The original mural was sponsored by SPARC and was made possible by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

The mural depicts a number of features of the Venice community that are becoming endangered. The dolphins in the foreground may seem obvious as a marine mammal worthy of protection. The black and white upper portion of the mural features an abstracted bulldozer that is running rampant over an outstretched hand. Homeless people, senior citizens and historic housing are depicted as victims of progress and greed. The various elements reflect the pink and blue hues of a magical Venice sunset. Many of the themes and issues that were important to the artist in 1990 are still relevant in Venice today.

ICU Art worked for about a month using Nova Color brand brush paint to repaint the imagery. We used original photos of the mural from 1990 as well as Emily’s original sketches. After the mural was completed, we coated the mural with a permanent, hard, automotive type clear coat, as well as a secondary, sacrificial, wax clear coat. If the mural gets vandalized, the wax coat will be melted off with hot water from a powerwasher. The vandalism will come of with the wax. The permanent clear coat protects the mural itself from damage from the powerwasher. Then the wax coat is reapplied. The clear coats have UV protection that will help keep the mural from fading in the harsh sun. ICU Art has restored many murals using various techniques that respect the original artist’s style and vision, while updating the mural defenses with the most current restoration techniques.