This ocean-themed mural covers the walls and ceiling of the 180-ft pedestrian tunnel at the North end of California Avenue shopping district. Oscar Castillo and a team of local youth volunteers painted the original mural in 1998 to commemorate the International Year of the Ocean, a United Nations declaration to “promote public awareness and understanding of the oceans.” Nearly twenty years later, the painting had started to deteriorate due to water damage, heavy foot traffic, and tagging. In 2017 muralist Morgan Bricca restored the popular artwork with Castillo’s permission, repainting much of the tunnel over the course of seven days. She stayed true to the original spirit of the piece, but also brightened up the colors and added her own creative style and creatures to the underwater scene. This collaboration between artists across two decades matches the friendly enthusiasm of the numerous pedestrians and cyclists who ebb and flow through the tunnel on their daily commutes.
Before moving to Florida, Oscar Castillo worked on California Avenue and engaged local youth in his Public Art Program commission to liven up the underpass with a mural. In 2017, he was unavailable to work on the restoration himself, but was happy to have Morgan Bricca bring his work back to life.
Morgan Bricca is a San Francisco-based mural artist. She has painted over 75 public murals throughout the Bay Area and elsewhere in the United States. Her clients include local schools, restaurants, and hotels, as well as Google’s Embarcadero office in San Francisco, Children’s Hospital Oakland, and Stanford University’s Arrillaga Outdoor Education Center.
Morgan Bricca painted thematic elements like seashells and starfish on the ground of the tunnel based on the suggestion of a passerby’s eight-year-old son.
“Never underestimate how attached a community can become to a mural.” - Morgan Bricca