Check out these amazing murals in my NJ hometown
Anyone who listens to me on New Jersey 101.5 show knows that I grew up in Union City, and how much I love it. So when Maria Mijares friended me on Facebook and showed me her amazing murals that add to the beauty of the city, I just had to share.
The murals are located at the Bergenline Avenue Light Rail Station, on the clock tower, and three at the bus ports.
Mijares, currently living in Plainfield, is a contemporary realist painter working in New Jersey. Known for conceptually "lived-out" stories relayed in "psychedelic precision" and public art, she has exhibited around the world in museums and galleries for more than five decades. She explained not only her great work, but how it came to be.
The 4 murals are architecturally integrated, porcelain enamel on steel, fabricated in Santa Rosa, CA, from my paintings. I was selected to create artwork for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail System back in 1998 by Parsons Brinckerhoff engineers, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and NJ Transit. They were unveiled in 2006.
There were years of architectural changes, and my painting ideas had to evolve to accommodate.
This was the only station where the rail went underground—18 stories down beneath the palisade— so the clock tower image would show the public that the rail was underground.
For that image, I stood at the edge across from the river looking into the tunnel opening to represent the rock...funny because years later I saw a photo of the sandhogs 100 years before right where I had stood. In the photo, I could identify the SAME wrinkles in the rock I had painted! Before the new light rail cars came I went into the Newark subway system with the garage foreman to jump out in the tunnels at different points to capture the new light rail approaching.
My plaza title is "BETWEEN MANHATTAN AND MEADOWLANDS" because of its unique location.
'TO THE POINT' is closest to Bergenline Avenue. The view is Manhattan around the corner from the station.
Next is the 'NIGHT BUS' as seen through the window of a Dunkin Donuts across the street from the station. Reflections mixed with trays of donuts. Once installed, I was almost surprised at how well the image fit in with the architecture as seen between the vent stacks...I had planned something like that, but turned out better than I imagined!
The final mural, 'ACROSS THE STREET', is busy Bergenline Avenue, with a guy on a bike wearing a doo-rag, and a Marine crossing the street...If you peel back the most populated square mile looking west, we see the Meadowlands.
And again, once Hudson County Community College was built, my mural worked perfectly—those angles in the blue windows relate to the folded page and the green behind—I couldn't have known!
Of the many things you need to see in Union City, it all starts here.
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