Artist Giancarlo Pia loves Golden Hill, mostly because of its large community of creative people and cultural diversity. So, when he was given the opportunity to create a mural that represented Golden Hill, he jumped at the chance.
Pia, 38, creates collage art from newspaper and magazine clippings, and his mural, "Golden Hill," which now adorns the west-facing wall of Jaroco Market (at the corner of 25th and B streets), is essentially an enlarged version of that style.
For the mural, Pia made a small, hand-cut collage featuring the Golden Hill sign, flowers, a small cluster of Downtown buildings and other elements that, to him, express the neighborhood's essence. He then took that small art piece and had it enlarged into an 8-by-10-foot poster.
"It's kind of a distinctive way to do the art," Pia says. "I really wanted to bring something hopeful and positive for the community. I wanted something that was going to make people feel a sense of pride and excitement. At the same time, I really love being here and I wanted something that reflects the people that live here."
The mural includes images inspired by Pia's work with at-risk youth in various cities around the country since 1997.
"A lot of my inspiration comes from those experiences and looking at the things that really help people feel strong and powerful in their lives," he explains. "I wanted a sense of respite. I think people right now are very busy. They have a lot going on and it's a really challenging time. So I wanted something that was a break in their life in a positive way. I hope it really resonates with people and they feel good about it."
The mural has an anti-graffiti coating on it to protect against vandalism. A bit of Windex or water easily washes away any spray paint or marker.
"Golden Hill" is Pia's first public-art piece, but he hopes it's not his last. His goal is to create more murals throughout the city that highlight social issues specific to the location.