Sub Rosa

Artist: Jason Godeke

Location: 400 E Laurel St. Fort Bragg CA,  across the street from Bainbridge Park

​Unlike many artists who start with a blank canvas, Jason Godeke designed Sub Rosa to complement, and respond to a pre-existing mural on the building. The Grey Fox mural to the right of Sub Rosa was painted by The Obanoth as part of a mural competition sponsored by the City of Fort Bragg. Due to the placement of the Grey Fox, there was a large section of wall that was un-decorated, and Jason wanted to fill it with something that felt dynamic, and alive. ​​

Inspiration for this installation

What is this strange creature you see before you? In Jason’s words “It is something submerged, to reference the rich marine life of our coastal waters, but also fantastical.” The intense colors and details offer a dynamic and complicated response to the question the Grey Fox seems to pose. The shades and forms flow from the soft green bubbles at the edge of the two murals’ boundary, then sharpen and resolve as the viewer is drawn into the depths of Sub Rosa’s stylized realm. Design elements for the creature’s face and head reference stone carvings and mural fragment’s found in the ancient Mezoamerican city of Teotihuacan, famed for their bold contrasts and powerful structural elements. Upon this foundation, Jason layers rainbow fins, textured body segments, and marionette-like limbs, to create a whimsical mash-up with a personality all its own. Jason Godeke  is the art teacher at Fort Bragg Middle school. He is available for more mural projects. His dream is to design and install a large local mural with his students. Donate to the middle school art program. 


Sub Rosa literally means “under the rose” in New Latin. Since ancient times, the rose has often been associated with secrecy. In ancient mythology, Cupid gave a rose to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to keep him from telling about the indiscretions of Venus. Ceilings of dining rooms have been decorated with carvings of roses, reportedly to remind guests that what was said at the table should be kept confidential. Roses have also been placed over confessionals as a symbol of the confidentiality of confession. Sub rosa entered the English language in the 17th century, and even before then, people were using the English version, “under the rose.” Earlier still, unter der Rose was apparently used in Germany, where the phrase is thought to have originated.