‘Rubio’ enters Altadena | Feature Articles

AArtists Victor Ving and Lisa Beggs travel the United States and literally leave their mark on the cities they visit.

The next stop is Altadena. On July 22, Altadenians will officially welcome Rubio, a life-size, photorealistic painted bear to the side of Grocery Outlet.

“Rubio” will permanently keep a massive new crowd-funded wall postcard piece titled “Greetings from Altadena.”

The Altadena Chamber of Commerce will officiate an inauguration ceremony on July 22. A special presentation will offer presidential recognition to the new mural and the volunteer effort behind it.

The mural, the product of husband-and-wife muralists Ving and Beggs, is a gift to the community and was funded by donations to cover the costs of materials and equipment.

Under the name “Greetings Tour”, Ving and Beggs painted more than 50 murals of the same theme across the country while traveling in an RV. The couple recently moved to Pasadena – and almost immediately began creating location-focused murals on local buildings.

“To see this blank old wall transform into such a vibrant and colorful tapestry of history and highlights of our beautiful community has been a real delight,” said Sandra Valenzuela, co-owner/operator of Altadena’s Grocery Outlet.

“I knew from the moment Victor approached us that this would be a perfect way to celebrate our community and welcome visitors. My husband, Jose, and I are just tickled pink to welcome this incredible piece of art. And everyone loves Rubio.

The artists want the mural to create a destination landmark and symbol of hometown pride, and several of their out-of-state followers have even visited Altadena specifically to view the mural being created.

“The sudden and intense summer heat slowed down work, and we did the most intensive prep work to date on any of our projects. We really want this mural to stand the test of time, so it was worth the extra time and effort,” Ving said.

“The local community has been so supportive of me, and it’s humbling to see the power of public art. We even had a family from Washington State who was on a family vacation at Disneyland who took a detour to come and explore Altadena because of the murals.

The mural’s lettering includes several key aspects of Altadena’s life and history, including a spectacular aerial drone view of the community, the infamous Christmas Tree Alley, artist Charles White and the author Octavia Butler, the Star of Palawoo, local hiking trails and historic Mt. Lowe and Rubio Railroad.

“I tell people the devil is really in the details,” said community activist Rene Amy, who donated his time and expertise to secure the wall, wet strip it, repair it and prepare it with a special epoxy primer before the start of the painting process. “He’s a great addition to our community.”

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