Redwood Frolic

Artist: Sally Rodriguez

Location: 221 East Redwood Ave.

Inspiration for this installation

Sally had been dreaming of painting this triptych for years before everything fell into place with the Alleyway Art Project. She loved the rich and somewhat jumbled history of this neighborhood in Fort Bragg, with its many businesses, cultures, and local characters in constant flux over the years. The Little Cup and Larry Spring buildings are some of the oldest buildings in town – along with the Golden West Saloon.

Always a sucker for nostalgia, Sally delighted in depicting a chaotic and festive mashup of history from many time periods, lost treasures, found items, and as many references as she could fit.

Drifting across all three murals are Sally’s signature angels, often depicted holding orbs representing the spheres of the world, the heavens, all knowledge, and mystical interconnectedness.

The wheel in the lower left is from the vintage letterpress at Little Cup Ceramics.

The molotov cocktail to the right is a reference to one thrown during a protest of logging that happened in the 80’s. 

There’s a greyhound bus in the upper right corner under the cup. There used to be a greyhound bus station across the street from this mural.

The Chinese food box is from Lee’s Chinese, kitty-corner from the mural.

The building holding the mural used to be a Finnish fish restaurant, hence the fish head and butcher knife in the center of the piece.

The bowl of fruit on the far right middle is an homage to Picasso. 

The blue basket on the table is going to get filled with laundry.

The upside down angel is Henry, the Alleyway Art Project director Lia’s son who visited Sally while she was painting. The orb the little angel is holding is a reference to Larry Spring’s common sense physics. To learn more, visit the Larry Spring Museum, two doors up Redwood Ave. from this mural.

The water droplet with a face is an abstract references to faces seen through the wet windowpane of the fish shop from years ago.

The Gypsy wagon puppet theatre in the upper right corner is from the Larry Spring commons

The angel with orbs is an homage to Picasso, but Sally includes angels with orbs in many of her works. The orbs  represent the mystical connection of universal heavenly spheres.

The Chinese man reading a book is a reference to an incident when Chinese locals were nearly run out of town but the sheriff intervened to protect them. The “reason” given was because the Chinese community was essential to the functioning of daily life in town.

The wave in the lower right corner is a reference to the local beach and coast.

The woman in the yellow shirt reading a book is in reference to a book store that used to be where the grassy lot is now.

You might notice that right behind the man holding an ice cream cone with a lute tucked under his arm there is a tiny figure standing in a doorway. This is a reference to the early history of the Golden West Saloon as a house of fleeting pleasures.

As if to drive the point home, the angel being squashed under a carafe of ale is a reference to Fort Bragg’s history as a rather wild drinking town.

The three balls in a bowl is a Picasso reference – one of many.

The mid top left area shows boats in the harbor, above some harbor buildings – Noyo harbor was a bustling fishing and trading port back in the day before the fish stocks were catastrophically overfished.

In the bottom left corner there is the tail and head of a salmon.

Next to the salmon at the bottom of the painting is the harbor master’s office.

Person in the hat is a local kid from a photo Sally saw.

In the upper left is some neighborhood buildings, including the building directly across Redwood.

The yellow building in the upper right is the Larry Spring building, as seen from the alley.

The half-of-a-person on the far left is a stilt walker traversing the space between panel three and panel two.

In the middle of panel three is a table holding a bowl with blue lemons and a banana, right above a vase of lupines. The interesting shapes of the tables is a reference to the local Krenov School of Fine Woodworking.

The Angels with heavenly orbs make an appearance in this panel as well.

Red toolbox sitting in a doorway is a reference to the DIY construction of the town in its early days. If you have experience with some of the older buildings in town you will know that many are constructed with high-quality redwood lumber from the local mill, but they were often put together by non-professional builders so there’s some architectural touches that are quirky to say the least.