By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
A mural featuring a wolf popped out of the wall of Crestline’s Treasure Box & Co. on Lake Drive last week. In merely three days, Wes Abarca, along with his helper, Kaylee Larson, created an ultra-modern view of a wolf shattering through a colorful stained-glass window. The wolf appears like it is breaking out through the previously all-white wall of the popular purveyor of antiques.
An excellent view of the colorful mural can be seen while traversing eastward, just past the Shell gas station, on the left side of the street.
Abarca has created numerous murals in Crestline over the past few months, many of which were styled after classic National Park posters. These murals had been highly praised by Treasure Box proprietor Gary Lopez.
“When I heard that Wes wanted to paint a mural on my Castle Greyson building, I was honored to be considered for a mural by him,” Lopez said. “The whole stained glass-style and colors really got me sold, since the castle is so completely white.”
Lopez, who said he is fascinated by wolves, added, “I have seen other animal designs that Wes has done, and I love the colorful aspects of the shattered stained-glass design, so I asked Wes for a wolf and then allowed him to design and paint the mural. When I saw it, I loved it immediately. I hope the community does too.”
The concept of the shattered stained-glass mural is a style that Abarca enjoys creating and was inspired by a mural he painted of a big horn sheep last summer in Great Falls, Mont., during a weeklong art festival mural show. Many other talented artists descended on Great Falls that week to created murals in a variety of styles. Gary’s modern, stylistic murals feature dozens of brilliant colors and yet have a casual appearance. His big horn sheep mural was chosen for the cover of the monthly Montana Press magazine.
Abarca told The Alpine Mountaineer, “I like this style and hope to do other smaller murals, possibly with other local animals, such as bears, blue jays, squirrels and foxes.”
Kaylee Larson, who has assisted Abarca in creating murals throughout Crestline, joined forces with Abarca earlier in the year, when he was running Lake Gregory Education and Community Center. She was one of the students active at the center and helped him paint several of the murals on the wall of the center’s handball court.
“I was thrilled when Wes called to have me help him paint this mural,” Larson said. “I am so proud of it. I love how he taught me to use spray paint and glad I got to do many of the bright colors. I do hope the community likes it.”
Lopez added, “I think Wes’ murals in town are very well executed and I am honored to have them. Knowing how Crestliners like to nickname places, it is possible the building may soon be called ‘Grey Wolf Castle’ for that flashy new mural now painted on the west side of the building. It has a small spotlight on it for nighttime viewing for those driving down Lake Drive from dusk to dawn.”
Abarca, owner of Genesis Murals, says it’s difficult to paint outside during the winter in the mountains, since a mural usually takes many days to accomplish and getting a good break in the weather could be difficult. He is currently painting indoor murals at homes, spas and stores. Those who are interested in transforming a plain wall on their business or building, or want to bring more color to the community, are encouraged to contact him at (909) 353-4463.
Since Abarca has over 20 years of experience, he can help make your vision a reality. See his Genesis Mural Co. Facebook page or log onto Genesismuralco.com/ to view photos of the many murals he has created locally, including those at Rim High School, Rim Lanes Bowling and Entertainment Center and the 7-Eleven store. Many of Abarca’s hiking, biking and kayaking murals were sponsored by the Crestline-Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce.