edited January 2016 in Arts


My name is David Larcom and I’m a muralist working out of Salida. For nearly 5 years I’ve been trying to get written permission from the city so I can get a go ahead to paint a mural on the bowling alley wall.

The first amendment guarantees us freedom of expression such that a freeman can paint his property with any color combination he wants. Buena Vista understands this as they have no application nor fee. It just can’t be a sign nor obscene. I recently painted 3 murals in BV and you can ask anyone there and find they are happy with their murals.

You can view more of my work at:
* The community center
* Salida Sign Works
* The Painted Turtle
* The bowling alley

I have a stagecoach to paint in BV in the spring, otherwise, I’m done with them as the rest of the candidate walls have out of town landlords who are never interested in murals. I’m sure that’s true in Salida as well; we’re not going to get a lot of murals.

When a mural goes up, the public takes immediate ownership. You’ll hear “Hey, have you seen OUR new mural.” A proper mural is painted to please the public; all inclusive, no borders nor bias. Universal appeal may be an impossibility, but it is the responsibility of the public artist to pursue this challenge the best he can.

Please, call off the cops so I can work in peace.

David Larcom


  • edited January 2016

    I have dealt with signage issues in Salida many times, and while I think the intent is right (we need some code), it’s still an awkward process. Consider, a new client wants me to design something cool right now, downtown, and I'm wary of designing anything too "far out," though I'm confident that I could create something appropriate (I designed Benson's Tavern, Woods Distillery and Salida Bike Company signage among others). These respect our town culture, and touch on heritage. But, more importantly, these are a part of our community's visual landscape. I take this responsibility seriously. With professional training in sign design and typography I am amazed when I am required to honor the direction of poorly written code, or must deal with oversight by people with no experience in visual communications. The irony is that Salida still ends up with bad signs, and bad art. The qualifications and experience of a person creating art and design in public spaces should be of high consideration by the city when approving an installation. All things being equal, it may be the best way to judge positive outcomes. I appreciate it is subjective, but the same code that mandates signage rules can be written to address the qualifications of the artist or designer. Think plumbing or electric. David, I like your work. I hope you can pull this off. -Donavan

  • Business signage is commercial "speech" properly subject to some govt. oversight.

    If the bowling alley owner, however, wants D. Larcom to paint a (train? - the mural has little or nothing to do with bowling, as I understand it), the City should just stay out of it. Neither the Administrator nor the Community Development Director should act as "Art Police," and the City's fees in many areas are getting too high. Let the artist make some art, and err on the side of freedom of speech if it's a close call. Quit "Brecking" Salida. Foster the funk.

    If it's ugly and causes a lot of unflattering comments, it will likely get painted over. Much more likely is that it will be really nice and we'll all be able to enjoy David's work, if they would just leave him and the bowling alley owner alone.

  • Thanks for the confidence, guys.

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