Monday, January 02, 2012

Holiday Field Trip

The History of Transportation Mural, Inglewood, CA

Monday, January 2, 2012....official holiday! Since yesterday was spent sleeping, eating and lazing around the house in our pajamas, today we decided to get out and go on a mini-field trip. So, after watching the Rose Parade (awesome, BTW), we piled into the car and zoomed toward Inglewood.

I'd heard about the restoration of the WPA History Of Transportation Mural, across the street from Inglewood H.S. near downtown Inglewood, but I'd never seen it. The mural was started in 1939, completed in 1940. The designer was Helen Lundeberg. This mural depicts the history of the Centinela Valley with an emphasis on the progression of transportation. There are so many wonderful WPA art projects in the Los Angeles area. I just love the deco-style and the Thomas Hart Benton-like figures used most often in this era of murals and paintings.

This particular mural is done in the petra-chrome construction technique, which is a variant of terrazzo; the panels were created from a mixture of rock aggregate, pigment, and concrete that is set and polished. These materials were used to insure longevity from exposure to the California sun. The color is very light, not like glass mosaic mural tiles. I did read that Helen Lundeberg used a very pale palette of colors in her paintings too. I enhanced my photos to show a bit more contrast. The mural was originally located in Centinela Park. It had suffered years of damage, graffiti, etc. In 2007 it was moved to Grevillea Park and restored. A few of the panels do not have terrazzo or rock pieces on them, they have merely been painted to resemble the former mosaic.

The history starts with walking, then using horses and donkeys with a buggy for transportation. It progresses to the train, trucks and automobile and ends with the airplane. The History of Transportation is a grand piece of WPA artwork, right here in Los Angeles!

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