Anyone strolling past the rusty garage on the north side of Third Street, between C and D streets downtown, would have been well within their rights in recent years to run by it as fast as possible, with their eyes closed if they could manage it.
Tucked between two very Davis-like bungalow businesses, smack-dab in the city’s Core Area, the embarrassment of a structure looked fit for demolition, not for prime real estate in the beloved city center.
That was, until Joey Stumpe walked by last month. And his eyes were certainly open.
Last July, Jerry Paiz, the owner of The Style Lounge, moved his salon to the corner of Third and D streets to locate his business in a more centralized spot downtown.
Along with the work space for the salon came that menacing garage where Paiz and his employees could park. The garage — a visual “blight,” Paiz would call it — was not necessarily good for business.
“People complained before,” Paiz said. “It was really, really ugly.”
In an attempt to mask the decaying facade, a few months ago, the property owner nailed up a large wooden board across the garage’s rusting face and painted it a light purple, per Paiz’s taste.
It stayed that way for a short while until last month when Stumpe walked by. Instead of purple, all he saw was potential.
“It looked like a cool canvas,” a laconic Stumpe, 22, said Friday, standing outside of the garage.
So the young artist, a Davis resident practiced in several paint mediums including spray and acrylic, walked into the studio and proposed to Paiz to paint the garage front himself. For free.
Paiz looked through Stumpe’s abbreviate online portfolio. It includes a photo of a kitchen cabinet that he brought to life with a technique he often employs using colorful rectangles while playing with different dimensions and planes.
Paiz liked what he saw, and entrusted the space to the young artist.
After about eight hours of work, Stumpe had transformed the once rusty, once purple wall that perhaps had been one of the most unattractive places downtown into an engaging work of art.
Rather than an ugly shell of a building, pedestrians and motorists instead see a vibrant mural with ribbons of multi-colored bricks curling and bending in many directions.
“People like it now,” Paiz said. “They walk by and give compliments.”
Unfortunately, the property owners have made plans to tear down the garage entirely to build a new office, so passers-by will have only a short while to enjoy the work.
Until then, Paiz mentioned that he and Stumpe have talked about painting over the original piece and creating something new, just to keep things fresh.
Stumpe’s work also can be seen downtown inside Memo’s Barbershop, 407 G St. To see his other work, visit www.joeystumpe.com.
— Reach Tom Sakash at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash