Nearly a year after completion, we look at how the mural has transformed the visual landscape of downtown San Jose
The mural located at the Hotel De Anza’s side wall is one of the most recent murals in the heart of Downtown San Jose. It’s not hard to spot going down Santa Clara Street as it takes up the whole of the the hotel’s western wall.
The work of art features the image of a woman painted with vibrant colors that attract Downtown commuters, art fanatics and social media lovers. Its bright colors are the perfect combination for a photo that would most likely gain a lot of thumbs up.
The mural, “Life Abundant in Face of Death Imminent” by Bay Area tattoo artist Jim Miner in collaboration with the Exhibition District was inaugurated on August 26th of last year and it took a period of 4 weeks, about a dozens of volunteers and 30 gallons of paint, according to the Exhibition District.
According to the Exhibition District, “the mural is inspired by the Egyptian Art Deco interior of the Hotel De Anza. The cornucopia is a nod to San Jose’s roots in agriculture, “the valley of heart’s delight.’” However, to some people, the real meaning might seem surprising, as the mural has certain elements that might trick spectators.
“If I have to guess, I’d say that it represents a Latin America Goddess, a harvest Goddess who cares for its townspeople,” said Leonard Hill, a San Jose resident who was taking a photo of the mural.
The woman portrayed in the mural is holding a basket full of fruit and vegetables and it says “Vida Abundante,” the definition of “Life Abundant” in Spanish, as well as colors such as yellow and orange that make the mural stand up from the area. However, there’s also a painting of a diving lady on the top right corner of the building where the mural is.
“The diving lady on the side is original when they first put the building on and they don’t have a pool now, so it’s kind of a thing,” said Brad who was working for a window cleaning company more than 20 years ago and was part of the construction cleanup when the De Anza hotel was remodeled. “When they reopened it, they got the names of the original people who spent their honeymoon in the honeymoon suite, the guy has passed away but they got the lady to come and spend the first night after they had remodeled and reopened it.”
The mural also attracts teenagers like Elizabeth Cornejo, a high school student from San Jose, was photographed in front of the mural for her Instagram page says that the “Vida Abundante” mural is her favorite one. “It’s so pretty…and purple is my favorite color. I’m a big fan of murals and so far all the ones I’ve seen have nothing on this one.”
The collaborators that made this mural possible are the Exhibition District is a group of artists dedicated to colorizing and curating thousands of square feet outdoor public mural space in Downtown San Jose. Their potential line-up includes acclaimed local and international artists as well as collectives working within the city. They work closely with the Knight Foundation and San Jose Downtown Association, and they are planning for two murals and two coordinating events as part of a larger vision, according to their facebook.
“It is very important that our hotels, especially our historic properties, to reflect a deep appreciation for and connection with our community and history,” said Hotel De Anza General Manager Isabelle Matter to the Mercury News.