SAN BERNARDINO, CA- On Sunday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the public is invited to see the progress on the two murals being painted on the outside of the museum which sits on the historic spot of the original McDonald’s Restaurant. This first “Meet-Up at the Museums” was inspired by veteran motorcyclist Paul Busser from San Diego County. His friends have invited bikers from all over the area to come out and enjoy the Inland Empire Military Museum next door to The McDonald’s Museum. Music, models and the muralists will be on hand for this event at 1398 N. “E” Street in San Bernardino.
“We hope to get a few classic cars out for this event and make this a regular activity throughout the year,” principle artist Phil Yeh said. “This is the first meet-up, but I can see this growing over the years as we continue to add more details to these murals. Our plan is to paint even more murals on this spot and also to open a bookstore and art gallery in the future”.
Beth Winokur, a writer as well as one of the muralists, is writing a brand new book about the murals. The book will explain the details and background of the subjects on the murals in addition to showing the images. The south side of the mural was finished early last year and depicts San Bernardino‟s rich history. Many noted people were born in the city and many graduated from high school there including Edith Head, who won eight Academy Awards; Gene Hackman, who won two; Hoyt Curtain, the composer of classic animated theme songs including The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Top Cat; and Chester Carlson, who invented dry copying in 1937. His invention helped create the Xerox Corporation. San Bernardino was also the site of the last appearance of Will Rogers in 1935 and the very first U.S. appearance of The Rolling Stones in 1965.
The north side mural depicts all of Route 66 in California from the end of the highway in Santa Monica all the way through San Bernardino County. This second mural was started in March 2013. This side of the building is being painted in exacting detail and will take another year to finish. Rory Murray, who painted on both sides, has been adding classic cars from all makes on the north side. Yeh, himself a motorcyclist in his youth, has made this north side a tribute to his late friend Hal Robinson, the original cartoonist of Easyriders magazine.
“We are painting bikes riding west to Santa Monica on the mural. Rory and I have also painted some bigger motorcycles in the foreground. I was inspired to draw by looking at Hal‟s cartoons while in high school in the early „70s. We became friends shortly before he passed away of cancer in the 80s. Hal really had a great style, but when we met he told me he never rode a motorcycle,” added Yeh.
Many artists have contributed to this mural including guest artist Mark Nelson who came out from Houston, Texas in January. Nelson is best known for his work on the Aliens comic book series. Jan Windhausen has added colorful details to the plants, rocks and sky; and Anna Lambert, who recently turned 14, has added some great fantasy elements as well. Yeh‟s eldest son, Rob Valentine, came down from San Francisco to paint some amazing detail as well.
“Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, was the very first cartoonist to endorse our tour in 1985. He believed that the power of humor could really increase our literacy rate. His widow, Jeannie, gave us permission to paint Spike, Snoopy’s brother, in the Needles section on the right side of the north wall. Schulz lived in this Route 66 town briefly as a child and paid tribute to it in his comic strip. I have painted Spike in front of the mountains in a Chinese brush style. Rory Murray added the Needles covered wagon sign,” said Yeh from his Running Springs studio.
“The whole San Bernardino mural project started when I painted a MIA-POW logo on the Inland Empire Military Museum a couple of years ago sponsored by my friend Jim Valdez, a veteran himself. Since both this museum and the McDonalds Museum are owned by Albert Okura, we got to talking about painting a more detailed work of art on the side of his building; something that truly celebrates the many accomplishments that took place in this city,” said Yeh.
“The portraits on the south wall were done by Sandy Fischer Cvar, who went to Los Alamitos High School with me more than 40 years ago. We also have an original Dan Romero metal sculpture of palm tree leaves on the roof,” continued Yeh.
Sponsors for the San Bernardino County side include Loma Linda University & Hospital; Arrowhead Medical Center; Redlands Paint Company; San Bernardino Paint Company; Sherwin Williams Paint Company; Millcreek Cattle Company; Dale Brothers Brewery; Tofurkey; Beanfield Chips; Two Guys Pizza & Pasta; Mattel Toys; The Ontario Airport; Speedball Art Supplies; The Los Angeles Athletic Club; and Country Inn & Suites in Redlands.
Yeh, who founded Cartoonists Across America & The World in 1985, is on the 29th year of his world tour. Yeh also speaks to students of all ages about the importance of reading and the power of art to fuel your creativity in all fields. First Lady Barbara Bush wrote three introductions to his books and painted a mural with his group in the Library of Congress.
Yeh’s full color hardcover book, Dinosaurs Across America published by New York publisher NBM. School Library Journal recommends Dinosaurs Across America as one of the most outstanding 25 graphic novels for kids. Dinosaurs Across America also won a 2008 Children’s Choice Award from the Children’s Book Council and the International Reading Association. This book is the fun way to learn a little about U.S. history and geography and is one of several books using Yeh’s dinosaurs and a little rabbit called Patrick to teach kids of all ages about various places around the world.
Yeh, often called the Godfather of the Modern American Graphic Novel, will be issuing an updated version of his comic book Dinosaurs Across Route 66 later this year. Since 1985, Yeh and Cartoonists Across America & The World have painted more than 1800 colorful cartoon murals promoting literacy, creativity and the arts in 49 U.S. states and 15 foreign countries. These murals have covered school, library, and community walls as well as being painted on portable lightweight form core board, city buses, bookmobiles, and billboards all around the world.
Yeh continues to speak in schools, libraries and communities about creativity and the arts. His talks are for all ages. To see a bit more of his tour and books go to www.wingedtiger.com.