Artists' Warriors mural can be spotted near Highway 24

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - After 20 spray cans, five gallons of paint and two days of work, there's a work of art that anyone can see driving onto Highway 24 in Oakland.

Where most people see a blighted wall, Tim Hon spots his next blank canvas.

"Throughout Berkeley to Oakland, there's just so many canvases around," Hon said of the many empty and partially tagged and graffitied walls in the Bay Area.

"This building here, to me, is a microcosm of what's happening in Oakland," Hon said, pointing to an empty, corner building at 27th Avenue and Northgate, near Telegraph Avenue and Highway 24. "Make it a piece of public art that the general public will appreciate it more."

Hon and his friend, Steve Ha, go by the street artist team name, "Illuminaries."

They began mapping out the grid for a mural project on the building at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Their goal was to finish the mural by Wednesday evening.

The artist counted out the bricks on the side of the building to map out a grid for their mural, which includes an unconventional portrait of Stephen Curry.

"It's Steph Curry in the pose of Mac Dre, who is a local Bay Area [rap music] legend who passed away a few years ago," Hon said.

Neighbors and people driving by the area stopped to check out the work in progress.

"This is awesome," said Mike Baldwin, who works as an educator at the Hepatitis C treatment Oasis Clinic next door. "The taggers seem to respect murals, they won't tag over something this beautiful. So it'll really help. Plus, the Warriors? Right on."

Hon has been a street artist for 14 years. He asked the owner of the building for permission to paint the mural, but he's doing it for free. Some of the paint was donated by Orchard Supply Hardware.

"Some days I'll just go out and knock on business-owners' doors and say, 'Hey, your wall needs something on it. Let me help you,'" Hon said of how he scopes out his "canvases".

This is Illuminaries' second Warriors mural project in the past week. They completed their first Warriors mural on the side of the Lumber Baron, on the I-80 frontage road on the Albany-Richmond border.

The store and mural are located on, of all places, Cleveland Avenue.

"Everybody's been getting a kick out of it, stopping by, asking who did it," Lumber Baron owner, Max Slendebroek, said of the artwork on his wall.

For Hon, this Oakland mural is even more important, because of what he'd like it to represent.

"Me, personally, I want people to drive through this area and have an uplifting feeling that it's not a dead town," Hon said. "This place is alive. People care about the area. People want it to look good."

He's using a splash of blue and a spray of color, to paint this corner in a different light.

Hon grew up in Berkeley, but he's painted about 50 murals in his career all over the country, from Los Angeles to Florida. His next job is in Washington, D.C. in a couple weeks.

The artists plan to finish the mural Wednesday around 5 p.m.

They're inviting Warriors fans out in the community to come out for a celebration. People will be able to sign their names inside the giant letters that spell "dubs" on the mural.

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