Nov. 8 2016 04:09 PM

Roy McMakin discusses his popular grid piece for the Murals of La Jolla project

    “Favorite Color” by Roy McMakin
    Philipp Scholz Rittermann

    The Murals of La Jolla project includes many Instagram-worthy backdrops. Started by the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library and the La Jolla Community Foundation, the project has grown to more than a dozen murals scattered throughout the seaside community, many of which are from prominent local names. There's Kelsey Brookes' hyper-colored "One Pointed Attention" which resembles some kind of psychedelic tunnel. There's also Jean Lowe's highly satirical "Tear Stains Be Gone," a faux advertisement promoting a product that removes stains caused by incessant weeping.

    Of all the pieces that have gone up since the project began in 2010, none is more shared and seen in more selfies than Roy McMakin's "Favorite Color." Made up of hundreds of multi-colored tiles to form a majestic and hypnotizing grid of tints and tones, the piece was one of the first murals to be completed for the project (it's on CityBeat's cover this week). It also has the distinction of being one of the few pieces that's painted, as opposed to being a large, pasted printout of a piece of art.

    "I made it a little hard for them because instead of just giving a digital file to the billboard printing company, ours involved marketing and getting people to show up to choose their favorite color," says McMakin, who wanted to create a "visual document" with help from random people choosing their favorite color from a selection of paint swatches. "It was a giant, difficult thing to realize."

    The UC San Diego graduate is also a furniture maker and has an architectural design business in Bankers Hill, but he still self-identifies as a "professional artist." McMakin didn't immediately have something in mind for the La Jolla wall on 7596 Eads St., but when he saw a photograph it made him curious about the favorite-colors concept; that it could be something that made people happy without having to get too cerebral. Judging by social media appearances, it does seem that the mural makes people happy.

    "That fact makes me feel good," says McMakin, who also has public art works in San Diego at the Central Library and at Lindbergh Field. "I believe public art work should be accessible and enjoyed. I have a piece up at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle and it has the same thing where people tell me how much they like it and that it's their favorite, because itís friendly and accessible. I like doing that kind of thing."

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