Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market
Project Area: Central Industrial
Project: Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market Murals
Project Location: 1601 Olympic Boulevard
Project Type: CRA/LA Initiated
The monumental murals by Thomas Suriya, located on the corner of 8th and Central at the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market in the Wholesale District, each measure 30 x 110 feet and cover a total of 6,600 square feet. One of the murals depicts giant fruits and vegetables floating from an agricultural landscape in a California crate label, while the other depicts fruits and vegetables floating towards a Los Angeles crate label. Through a grant funded by the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, the two murals were painted in acrylic on the warehouse’s cement walls in 1986.
Both murals depict fruits and vegetables as the Wholesale District is dedicated primarily to produce. Twenty five years later, the artist believes the murals remain artistically relevant as all the produce from the Southwestern United States still comes through this produce market. The imagery on the murals harks back to the historic graphics found on crates and old fruit labels that most Angelenos may recall. The artist’s focus on realism is especially apparent in the lifelike depiction of the grapes and watermelon on the murals.
Over the years, the mural has suffered from fading and streaking. In 2011, L. A. Wholesale Produce Market management invited Suriya to re-touch the murals and the conservation was done under his guidance. During the first phase of the conservation initiative, the conservators removed the deposits of dirt and smog that attributed to the whitening and fogging of the varnish and then reapplied a new coat to saturate the colors and revive the original vibrancy of the mural.
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